Public Ministry: Two Years of Unrestricted Access to Justice for the Guatemalan Population

As a historical legacy for justice, especially for the Guatemalan citizens, this year marks the Public Ministry’s second anniversary of achieving nationwide presence.

by Pamela Contreras
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Accordingly, the Attorney General of the Republic and Head of the Public Ministry, Dr. María Consuelo Porras Argueta, fulfills her commitment to bringing justice closer to the Guatemalan population with the establishment of Prosecution Agencies in the 340 municipalities of the country.

After 24 years of history, the Public Ministry had only 16% coverage nationwide, with representation in only 64 municipalities, which represented impunity. For this reason, when Dr. Porras Argueta took office as head of the institution, after conducting a diagnosis, she strategically decided to include within the Institutional Strategic Plan a specific axis that would guarantee a response to the population for  the crimes that affect them and strengthen access to justice and the quality of service to the population.

Through budget optimization and prioritization of the areas most affected by violence, the Public Ministry established prosecutor’s offices in municipalities throughout the country, achieving a 100% presence of the Public Ministry nationwide in less than three years.

The Prosecutors’ Agencies in municipalities are authorized to prosecute cases of less serious crimes within their jurisdiction. These agencies also receive verbal and written complaints, police reports, and lawsuits. Moreover, they conduct urgent proceedings to avoid delays in cases. They take all types of complaints and provide an expeditious response to the population’s need for justice.

The challenge was not limited to the agencies’ presence but also to guarantee that the service provided by the agencies is of the highest quality since all Guatemalans deserve a worthy and quality service.

The certification process with the ISO 9001:2015 standard began with the strategic vision which characterizes Dr. Porras Argueta. This standard provides the basis for developing effective procedures, qualified personnel, and measurement and monitoring controls to evaluate and improve processes, ensuring users’ satisfaction.

Currently, 273 agencies in the country have international certification. The process involves periodic evaluations to ensure the efficient work of the prosecutor’s offices. This effort allows the Public Ministry to lead among the institutions of the justice sector in Central America by having this number of certified agencies at the national level and guaranteeing the quality of service to the people of Guatemala.

The efficiency of the processes and the quality of service have enabled the Prosecutor’s Agencies in municipalities to conclude 97% of the cases they have handled, becoming additional support of the District Prosecutor’s Offices.

The plan is to certify all of them and to obtain the certification for other agencies, such as the District and Municipal Prosecutor’s Offices, to guarantee that the Quality Management System operates throughout the country to promote criminal prosecution and address crimes of public action, acting with objectivity, impartiality, and adherence to the principle of legality under the terms established by law.

These actions ensure that Guatemalans, regardless of the location in which they file their complaints, will be assisted by competent personnel who seek to respond to their justice needs effectively and efficiently.

As proof of this effective assistance, the Public Ministry has achieved a 65% reduction of the inherited tax arrears, consisting of more than 1,266,000 cases not attended to by previous administrations.

After two years of achieving nationwide coverage, the Public Ministry reiterates its steadfast commitment to providing Guatemalan citizens with quality, warmth, and high international standards.

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