Crimes against the environment and the cultural heritage of the nation, committed in the department of Guatemala and its municipalities are, as of August 2020, the exclusive jurisdiction of the Twelfth Criminal Court of First Instance, Specialized in Crimes against the Environment and Cultural Heritage of Guatemala. The crimes that it hears are the following:
Crimes in environmental matters: Illegal exploitation of natural resources, Pollution, Industrial Pollution, Protection of fauna, Crime against forest resources, Forest fires, Collection, use and commercialization of forest products without documentation, Change of use of land without authorization, Felling of trees, among others of environmental nature.
Crimes against the nation’s cultural heritage: Violation of measures for the protection of cultural property, Depredation of cultural property, Illicit export of cultural property, Illicit demolition, Theft, robbery and trafficking of cultural property, Illicit modification of cultural property, among others of this nature.
Through the creation of this Court, in harmony with the strengthening of the Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against the Environment of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, it is evident that the area of environmental criminal protection is becoming more important within our legal context. It is therefore suggested to act both preventively and correctively to avoid the materialization of contingencies of this nature.