Vance Center Continues Efforts to Protect Judges at Risk in Central America

May 2024

In May, the Vance Center convened a group of legal experts, human rights advocates, and other stakeholders for a timely discussion at the Washington D.C. offices of law firm King & Spalding.

The event, titled “Urgent Threats to Judicial Independence in Central America: Protecting Judges at Risk,” focused on the escalating wave of threats and attacks against judges and prosecutors in the region.  

The event offered an opportunity to discuss and reflect on some of the most urgent challenges for judges in countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, including criminal proceedings and other tactics aimed at intimidating individual judges and ensuring impunity for corrupt actors. Speakers also noted the consequences, for individuals and society alike, when independent judges, prosecutors, and other justice operators are forced to go into exile. 

The event featured powerful testimonies from former judges who experienced attacks on their judicial independence and fled their home countries for their own protection. Their experiences underscored the urgent need for stronger regional and international support networks to provide a safe haven, legal assistance, and general support for judges at risk. 

The Vance Center continues working with regional partners to advance these efforts and advocate for measures to ensure that the voices of those upholding justice are heard and protected.