"While Ukraine’s vibrant civil society continues to demand that Kiev confront corruption, old guard officials from both the government and parliament continue to fight change every step of the way. What’s to be done? Surprisingly, the most useful model for Ukraine could turn out to be the small and distant Central American country of Guatemala.
Faced with its own endemic graft, Guatemala decided to sacrifice a portion of its sovereignty, outsourcing its fight against corruption to a hybrid international/domestic body called the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). Doing the same would surely be a difficult pill for Kiev to swallow, but milder measures simply haven’t worked. It’s a radical step for Ukraine’s feuding politicians to take — but the fate of their country depends on it.
Since its launch, CICIG has investigated more than 200 cases of high-level corruption and brought charges against over 160 current or former government officials. And CICIG isn’t afraid to go after the worst offenders. The list of those it has prosecuted include powerful businessmen, former generals, former defense and interior ministers, former heads of the national police, a former president — and even the sitting president. President Otto Pérez Molina ended up resigning and was indicted in September after being investigated by the agency in a $120 million customs corruption case. As Carlos Castresana, CICIG’s first head, put it, the agency “puts government officials on notice that the era of impunity is over. It also shows Guatemala’s people that no one is above the law.”
The key question is whether Ukraine’s politicians have the political will to outsource such sensitive government responsibilities — especially if they fear becoming targets of investigations. But Ukrainian reformers and their Western allies are not without leverage. Sobolev already favors international involvement in Ukraine’s war on graft, and Kiev’s dependence on Western aid plus Ukrainian society’s demand that the government start a real fight against corruption could lend additional weight to the proposal."