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Reading: Intervention by Invitation? Shared Sovereignty in the Fight against Impunity in Guatemala


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Intervention by Invitation? Shared Sovereignty in the Fight against Impunity in Guatemala


Günther Maihold

Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik / German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and Freie Universität Berlin, DE
About Günther

Günther Maihold <> is a member of the Executive Board of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs/Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, based in Berlin, Germany. He received his PhD in Sociology and Political Science at the University of Regensburg, Germany. From June 1999 to June 2004 he was Director of the Ibero-American Institute, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Berlin. Since June 2004 he has been Deputy Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs/SWP at Berlin and worked as a Professor for Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has been on leave to assume the Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt Chair at the National University UNAM and The Colegio de México, Mexico City from July 2011 to June 2015.

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This article deals with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a joint hybrid commission to investigate impunity in the context of illegal security networks and organized crime. It was set up as an external governance intervention through an agreement between the UN and the State of Guatemala in 2006 to strengthen state institutions in the face of a worsening security situation. Based on a delegation of governance in the modality of shared sovereignty, CICIG has been operating in the country since 2006, trying to generate support in the national realm and the judicial system of Guatemala while exposed to the critical junctures of the highly contested national debates on its existence. More specifically, the article analyses the patterns of appropriation and rejection of CICIG by different actor constellations. Through a critical discourse analysis, actor constellations are specified, various themes of appropriation and rejection are detected and specific aspects of CICIG’s mandate are investigated.


Resumen: ¿Intervención por invitación? Soberanía compartida en la lucha contra la impunidad en Guatemala


En el centro del texto se trata la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG), una comisión híbrida conjunta que realiza averiguaciones sobre la impunidad en el contexto de las redes ilegales de seguridad y el crimen organizado. Esta entidad fue concebida como una intervención externa de gobernanza en base a un acuerdo entre las NN.UU. y el estado de Guatemala en 2006 con la intención de fortalecer las instituciones estatales ante una situación de seguridad empeorada. Fundamentada en la delegación de gobernanza como soberanía compartida, la CICG está operando desde hace ocho años en Guatemala y ha vivido las coyunturas de los debates nacionales altamente polarizados sobre su quehacer. El texto analiza los patrones de apropiación y rechazo de la CICIG por diferentes configuraciones de actores. Con base en un análisis crítico de discurso se especifican las constelaciones de actores, los temas de apropiación y rechazo al igual como aspectos del mandato de la CICIG.

How to Cite: Maihold, G. (2016). Intervention by Invitation? Shared Sovereignty in the Fight against Impunity in Guatemala. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (101), 5–31. DOI:
Published on 14 Apr 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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