Guatemala’s Forest Legislation and its regulations, together with the law on Protected Areas and the Law on Protection and Improvement of the Environment set out the offences and infractions against forest regulations and their specific penalties. Article 89 of the forest law states that the penalties for forest offences will be applied according to Chapter II, Title VI of Book I of the Penal Code, and in accordance with the terms of the Penal Procedure Code, although this does not mean that details of the offenders and their offences must be published. However, the Ministry of the Interior is obliged by the Law on Access to Public information to publish reports, although there is no specific section for this purpose.
The Public Prosecutor for Crimes against the environment is the body responsible for implementing criminal proceedings and directing investigation into crimes of public action, while the Nature Protection Division (DIPRONA) is a unit of the National Civil Police responsible for surveillance of natural assets in national territory. As with the previous report, no information has been found on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, the Judiciary or the INAB; access can be gained, however, via applications in the framework of the Law on Access to Public information, and according to the stipulations of the Civil Code in cases currently being tried.
A study carried out by the Rafael Landívar University concluded that in Guatemala 95% of forest operations are illegal. It also states that the causes of this illegality are the “…high demand for forest products, procedures which do not promote incorporation into legal management and the existence of a market in illegal products. Added to this is the poor ability of the institutions to supervise licit activities and punish illicit activities.” (1)
On this point, the Inter-Institutional Plan for the Prevention and Reduction of Illegal Logging is an initiative of the National Forests Institute (INAB) designed to reduce illegal logging. The Inter-Institutional Committee on Illegal Logging is coordinating with the Judiciary, the Public Prosecutor, DIPRONA and the Ministry of the Interior, amongst others. There are, however, considerable challenges, not least the situation of DIPRONA, which only has a presence in eleven departments in the country, out of a total of 22. This means that there is no institutional capacity to deal holistically with the problem of forest infractions.
(1) Rafael Landivar University (2009) Análisis costo/beneficio de las actividades de la ilegalidad en el sector forestal y una propuesta para mejorar y fortalecer los mecanismos de gestión en el INAB en función del control forestal. (Cost/benefit analysis of illegal activities in the forest sector and a proposal to improve and strengthen the management mechanisms in the INAB depending on forest monitoring). Directorate for Research, Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment. Available at http://www.profor.info/sites/profor.info/files/publication/Guatemala-forestfees.pdf
2. INAB. 2010. Inter-Institutional Plan for the Prevention and Reduction of Illegal Logging. 46 p. Available at: http://126.96.36.199/Paginas%20web/plandeaccion.aspx
|Title||a. Penal Code
b. Forest Law
c. Forest Law Regulation
d. Regulation on Movement of forest products
e. Law on Access to Public Information
|Organisation||a. Ministry of the Interior,
b. National Forests Institute
Nature Protection Division of the National Civil Police (DIPRONA), Public Prosecutor’s Office
|Date||a. a. 1973