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U.N. extends Guatemalan commission

GUATEMALA CITY, April 22 (UPI) -- In response to a request from the Guatemalan government, the United Nations has extended an investigation mandate into illegal armed groups in the country.

The United Nations announced it has extended the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala until 2011. The commission, headed by Carlos Castresana, is part of an effort to help Guatemalan authorities bring cases to trial and strengthen the rule of law in the country.

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Officials said the commission's mandate is also to conduct investigations into illegal armed groups and the growing threat of transnational criminal organizations, the United Nations reported.

According to a news release, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the decision to extend the commission's mandate. The release said that Ban "underscored the importance of ensuring continuity for efforts already under way and supporting efforts to address impunity."

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