OAS observing investigation into death of illegal logger
The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry posted an official release on its website. It condemns the killing of Martinez and puts the incident in the area of Machaquila near El Carrizal, Peten, three kilometers east of adjacency zone. In a most unusual statement, Guatemala also questions the effectiveness of the office of the O.A.S. in the Adjacency Zone in preventing the B.D.F. from “attacking and killing” Guatemalan nationals. That country’s authorities also say they will do everything in their power to punish those responsible for the incident. The killing of Martinez will be discussed at a meeting on July thirtieth in Washington between Belize, Guatemala and the O.A.S. The Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, says the Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, has also questioned the Belizean authorities’ respect for the lives and human rights of Guatemalan citizens. So while the O.A.S. has been invited as a nonparticipating witness, Rosado says the incident did not occur within the Adjacency Zone, therefore the O.A.S. cannot arbitrate the matter.
Alexis Rosado, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“We don’t deal with the Guatemalan press or any other body outside governments but we deal with every case according to the rules and procedures that are clearly set out when there is an incident, when there is any injury, when there is a loss of life and when civilians are involved the police are called in. Police do their investigation, if there is any finding of any wrongdoing the D.P.P.’s office would have to take action. In this case the facts are yet to be established and really it’s a matter for the police and D.P.P. if necessary. I’m sure the B.D.F. have their own rules of procedures. They have their own standing orders, it is according to the B.D.F. They will decide whether their standing orders were properly followed. Where we stand from a foreign affairs point of view, when a foreign national is involved we have to engage with the country where they come from and we have to be sure that all the proper protocols are followed.”
“What role, if any, would the Organization of American States play in terms of brokering this particular situation seeing as though it may not have occurred within the Adjacency Zone area? Do they have jurisdiction in this matter?”
“Well they don’t but [that’s] because it occurred outside of the Adjacency Zone. But in any case, for the purposes of full transparency, we have invited them to observe the whole process. We have invited, for example, the Embassy of Guatemala to be present when the autopsy of the deceased takes place.”
While the Guatemalan Vice minister is question the efficiency of the O.A.S., Secretary General Miguel Insulza, has weighed in on the incident. Insulza expresses regret at the death of the Guatemalan national in the shootout with the B.D.F. Insulza says in a statement, “The death of a person in a shootout is always reprehensible and I hope that the circumstances in which this occurred are cleared up promptly.” According to Insulza when he became apprised of the incident, he was in contact with the foreign ministers of both countries and their ambassadors accredited to the O.A.S., to gather more information about what happened and ask for a broad investigation. He also got a commitment from Belize to conduct a diligent and immediate investigation and to provide access to the government of Guatemala.