Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Guatemala, and is carried out by lethal injection and, to a lesser extent, the firing squad. It is only in military codes of justice, and was abolished for civilian offences in October 2017.[1]

Five executions had been carried out since 1983; all were broadcast live on television. The last executions took place on June 29, 2000, when kidnappers and murderers Amílcar Cetino Pérez and Tomás Cerrate Hernández were executed by lethal injection on live television.

From 2005 to 2012, the sentences of all 54 inmates condemned to death were commuted to life in prison. There are currently no inmates on death row in Guatemala.[2]

Guatemala voted in favor of the UN Moratorium on the Death Penalty in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. The country abstained from voting in 2008.

In 2017, the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala banned capital punishment for civil crimes. Currently, it can only be applied in times of war. Guatemala is one of seven countries that has abolished capital punishment for ordinary crimes only.[3]

The current President of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo, is against the death penalty.[4] Alejandro Giammattei, president from 2020 to 2024, supports the death penalty.[5] Jimmy Morales, president from 2015 to 2020, also voiced support for the death penalty.[6]

Executions since 1983

Executed person Date of execution Crime Method Under President
1 Pedro Castillo September 13, 1996 Kidnapping, rape and murder of a 4-year-old girl firing squad Álvaro Arzú
2 Roberto Girón
3 Manuel Martínez Coronado February 10, 1998 Murder of seven members of a single family lethal injection
4 Amílcar Cetino Pérez June 29, 2000 Kidnapping and murder of businesswoman Isabel de Botra Alfonso Portillo
5 Tomás Cerrate Hernández


  1. ^ "Guatemala high court abolishes death penalty in civil cases". ABC News. October 26, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  2. ^ "Abolitionist and retentionist countries (as of July 2018)". Amnesty International. October 23, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  3. ^ "Abolitionist and retentionist countries (as of July 2018)". Amnesty International. October 23, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  4. ^ "Bernardo Arévalo de León on TikTok". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  5. ^ "Alejandro Giammattei: La educación es el mejor anticonceptivo – Prensa Libre" (in Spanish). 9 August 2015. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
  6. ^ Louisa Reynolds (10 June 2015). "In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals". The Tico Times.