The Center for Justice and International Law is proud to announce and welcome the incorporation of Claudia Paz y Paz as the Director of the Mexico and Central America Program, based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Claudia will be joining and leading a team committed to the advancement and promotion of human rights across the region.
Prior to joining CEJIL’s team, Claudia was the first woman to hold office as Guatemala’s attorney General where she believed in the rule of law as a force that could strengthen society through the pillars of peace, justice and equality. Under her leadership, the country witnessed record-breaking sentences that increased the country’s ability to reach justice in cases of violence and grave human rights violations. As the first Guatemala law enforcement office to pursue high-ranking combatants of the civil war for war crimes, she succeeded in the conviction of high-ranking members of the military and of the former President Efrain Rios Montt for crimes against humanity.
Additionally, Claudia formed part of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) tasked with investigating the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico; as well as a second iteration of the GIEI, which was assigned with investigating the violence that took place in Nicaragua in the wake of the April 18th protests.
In response to her dedication and hard work, Claudia has received multiple awards and recognition. In 2012, Forbes magazine included her in the list of top 5 most powerful women in the world and in 2013 she was nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize.
Claudia´s commitment to justice in the face of cycles of impunity will help CEJIL dismantle a culture where the violation of human rights goes unpunished and demonstrate the region’s leadership in accountability and respect for human rights.
“I feel privileged to form part of a team that is profoundly committed to human rights,” said Claudia Paz y Paz, “I am certain that together we will be able to build innovative strategies to work in tandem with human rights defenders across the region to change realities on the ground.”
“We are very excited to welcome Claudia to our team,” said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director for the Center for Justice and International Law, CEJIL. “The hemisphere is facing serious challenges in regards to human rights and democracy. Claudia has the experience, the talent, and leadership to fight the setbacks and inspire positive change.”
Claudia´s arrival at CEJIL takes place in the middle of serious political and democratic setbacks that could lead to situations of impunity that leave thousands of survivors of serious human rights violations in a greater state of risk and vulnerability.
We also thank Marcia Aguiluz for her leadership and commitment over the past five years at CEJIL’s Central America and Mexico program. Her valuable contributions helped hundreds of survivors of human rights violations and organizations fight for the creation of more just and inclusive societies.