Verification/Monitoring Mechanism: Accord for a Firm and Lasting Peace

Comprehensive Agreement Human Rights (Mexico City, 19 March 1994)

X. International Verification by the United Nations

1. The Parties reaffirm the decision stated in the Framework Agreement of 10 January 1994 that all the agreements must be accompanied by appropriate national and international verification mechanisms, and that the latter must be the responsibility of the- United Nations.

2. In this context the Parties agree to request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to organize a mission for the verification of human rights and of compliance with the commitments of the agreement. The mission will be a component of the overall verification of the firm and lasting peace agreement which the parties undertook to sign within the shortest possible time during the current year.

3. The Parties recognize the importance of the role of the national institutions responsible for enforcing, monitoring and safeguarding human rights, such as the judiciary, the Public Prosecutors Office and the Counsel for Human Rights, and they emphasized the role of the latter, in particular.

4. The Parties agree to ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations that the mission for the verification of the agreement be established with the following in mind:

Functions

5. In verifying human rights, the mission shall carry out the following functions:

(a) Receive, consider and follow-up complaints regarding possible human rights violations;

(b) Establish that the competent national institutions are carrying out the necessary investigations autonomously, effectively and in accordance with the political constitution of the Republic of Guatemala and international norms regarding human rights;

(c) Determine whether or not a violation of human rights has occurred on the basis of whatever information it may obtain in the exercise of the powers referred to in paragraph 10, subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d), taking into consideration any investigations that the competent constitutional institutions may carry out.

6. In verifying the other commitments set forth in the present agreement, the mission shall determine whether it is being fully implemented by the parties.

7. According to the findings of its verification activities, the mission shall make recommendations to the Parties, in particular regarding measures necessary to promote full observance of human rights and faithful implementation of the present agreement as a whole.

8. Bilateral talks shall be instituted between the mission and each one of the Parties so that the latter may make observations regarding the mission's recommendations and so as to facilitate implementation of the above-mentioned measures.

9. The mission shall report regularly to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall report to the competent bodies of that Organization. Copies of these reports shall be transmitted to the Parties.

10. The mission shall be empowered to:

(a) Establish itself and move freely throughout the national territory;

(b) Interview any person or group of persons freely and privately for the proper performance of its functions;

(c) Visit government offices and Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca encampments freely and without prior notice when this is deemed necessary for the performance of its functions,-

(d) Collect whatever information may be relevant for the implementation of its mandate.

11. The mission may disseminate information relating to its functions and activities to the Guatemalan public through the mass media.

12. In verifying the observance of human rights, the mission shall pay particular attention to the rights to life, integrity and security of person, to individual liberty, to due process, to freedom of expression, to freedom of movement, to freedom of association and to political rights.

13. In the performance of its functions the mission shall take into account the situation of the most vulnerable groups of society and to the population directly affected by the armed confrontation (including displaced persons, refugees and returnees).

14. The mission's activities shall relate to events and situations subsequent to the mission's installation.

15. For purposes of implementation of the general commitment regarding human rights (chapter I of the present agreement), the Parties understand human rights as meaning those rights which are recognized in the Guatemalan legal order including international treaties, conventions and other instruments on the subject to which Guatemala is a party.

Cooperation and support for national institutions for the protection of human rights

16. The Parties agree in acknowledging that international verification must contribute to strengthening the permanent constitutional mechanisms and other national governmental and non-governmental entities for the protection of human rights. In order to support them, the verification mission shall be empowered to:

(a) Cooperate with national institutions and entities, as necessary, for the effective protection and promotion of human rights and, in particular sponsor technical cooperation programmes and carry out institution-building activities ,-

(b) Offer its support to the judiciary and its auxiliary organs, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Counsel for Human Rights and the Presidential Human Rights Committee in order to contribute to the development and strengthening of national institutions for the protection of human rights and due legal process;

(c) Promote the international technical and financial cooperation required to strengthen the capacity of the Counsel for Human Rights and that of other national institutions and entities to carry out their functions in respect of human rights;

(d) Contribute, in cooperation with the State and the various bodies of society, to encouraging a culture of respect for human rights.

Duration and structure of the mission

17. The mission shall initially be established for one year and its mandate may be renewed.

18. The verification mission shall be headed by a chief, appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, assisted by such international and national officials and experts in various specialities as may be needed to achieve the aims of the mission. The Government of Guatemala and the mission shall sign the relevant headquarters agreement, in accordance with the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 1946.

Launching of the international verification mission

19. Taking' into consideration its wish to promote human rights in Guatemala, and the fact that the provisions of the present agreement reflect constitutional rights that are already set forth in Guatemala's legal order and considering the role of the international mission to strengthen national institutions and entities for the protection of human rights, in particular the Counsel for Human Rights, the Parties recognize that it is desirable, as an exceptional measure, that verification of the human rights agreement should commence prior to the signing of the firm and lasting peace agreement.

20. Since the verification mission is to begin its functions prior to the end of the armed confrontation, and thus while military operations continue, the mission shall make the necessary security arrangements.

21. The Parties agree immediately to ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations to send a preliminary mission as soon as possible to prepare, in coordination with the Parties, the establishment of the mission at the earliest possible date, and to evaluate the financial and technical needs essential for verification of the agreement on human rights.

Cooperation of the Parties with the verification mission

22. The Parties undertake to provide their broadest support to the mission and, to that end, they pledge to provide it with whatever cooperation it may need in order to carry out its functions; in particular to see to the safety of members of the mission and of persons submitting complaints or giving testimony to the mission.

23. The international verification carried out by the mission shall be carried out within the framework of the provisions of the present agreement. Any situation that may arise regarding the scope of the agreement shall be resolved by means of the talks provided for in paragraph 8 above.

Agreement on the Basis for the Legal Integration of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (Madrid, 12 December 1996)

III. Elements of the Integration Programme: A. Legal area

Demobilization

28. In order to foster compliance with the demobilization of URNG members stipulated in the Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire, the National Reconciliation Act shall establish the complete extinction of criminal liability for persons who perpetrated, abetted or were accessories to the crimes defined in articles 398, 399, 402 and 407 of the Penal Code and articles 87, 88 and 91 to 97, paragraph (c), of the Arms and Munitions Act and who committed such acts up to the date on which their demobilization was completed in accordance with the terms, conditions and time-limits stipulated in the aforesaid Agreement. The date on which that demobilization was completed shall be communicated officially by the United Nations verification authority.

V. Final Provisions

Second. In accordance with the Framework Agreement, the Parties request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to verify compliance with this Agreement.

Agreement on the Establishment of the Commission to Clarify Past Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence that Have Caused the Guatemalan Population to Suffer (Oslo, 23 June 1994)

Commitment of the Parties

The Parties undertake to collaborate with the Commission in all matters that may be necessary for the fulfillment of its mandate. In particular, they undertake to establish, prior to setting up the Commission and during its operations, the necessary conditions so that the Commission may fulfill the terms of reference established in the present agreement.

International verification In conformity with the Framework Agreement of 10 January 1994, implementation of this Agreement shall be subject to international verification by the United Nations.

Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire (Oslo, 4 December 1996)

D: Verification

Term

31. International verification by the United Nations means on-site monitoring of the fulfillment by both parties of the commitments entered into in this Agreement.

Start of verification

32. Verification shall start on D-day when the ceasefire comes into effect, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement, without thereby restricting fulfillment by the Guatemalan armed forces of their constitutional function in the rest of the national territory.

Coordination and follow-up

33. For the purposes of coordination and follow-up the Parties undertake to designate officials, at different levels, to liaise with the verification authority.

Implementation History

1997

Full Implementation

The United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA) added military observers to verify the ceasefire signed on 4 December 1996. The 155 military observers were fully operational as of 3 March 1997, and after completing the verification of the ceasefire agreement, withdrew on 27 May.1 

  • 1. “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Resolution 1094 (1997),” United Nations Security Council (S/1997/123), February 13, 1997.
1998

Full Implementation

Verification mission continued its works. No other significant developments reported.

1999

Full Implementation

With the withdrawal of military observers, MINUGUA shifted from a primary concern with seeing the formal end of the armed conflict to focus on the final implementation of all components of the peace agreement, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2000. It combined verification operations with direct support programs, public information, facilitation of financial contributions, and providing good offices.2

  • 2. “United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala: Report of the Secretary-General,” United Nations General Assembly (A/59/746), March 18, 2005.
2000

Full Implementation

The number of MINUGUA personnel peaked at 532 in 2000. The Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace and the Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification of the Time Table for the Peace Agreements originally stipulated that the commitments must be fulfilled by 31 December 2000, but progress was far too slow to hit that benchmark. When the Follow-up Commission extended the deadline for implementation 2003, MINUGUA also extended its mandate.3

2001

Full Implementation

Verification mission continued its works. No other significant developments reported.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed this year.

2003

Full Implementation

After further delays in the implementation of the agreements, MINUGUA again extended its mandate through 2004. In preparation for its transition out of the country, MINUGUA carried out intensive capacity-building programs for the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and special on-the-job training for 60 young Guatemalan professionals to become United Nations Volunteers.4

2004

Full Implementation

MINUGUA phased-out its operations throughout the year, focusing on preparing Guatemalan officials to see the letter and spirit of the agreements fulfilled. It officially completed its mission on 15 November 2004, ten years after first entering Guatemala to verify the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights. A small contingency of staff was left behind to finalize the mission's exit.5

2005

Full Implementation

The last contingency of UN staff completed the liquidation process in March 2005. The remaining balance of the Trust Fund was given over to the National Transition Volunteer Program.6

2006

Full Implementation

With the liquidation of the UN mission in Guatemala in March 2005, the international or UN verification provision of the accord was implemented.