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Sep 2, 2010

British American Tobacco Central América, S.A. v. Guatemala

British American Tobacco Central América (BAT) claimed that the provisions of the Law for Tobacco and Its Derivatives was unconstitutional because it involves double taxation on imported cigarettes sold in Guatemala, violating the constitutional principle of equality under the law by providing different treatment to imported products. The Court emphasized previous holdings where it was decided that it was unconstitutional to calculate the tax percentage over an amount that already included previous tax rates. Consequently, the Court ruled in favor of BAT, finding the Law for Tobacco and Its Derivatives to be unconstitutional.


Feb 16, 2010

Guatemala Chamber of Commerce v. Guatemala (Docket 2158-2009)

The Guatemala Chamber of Commerce challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions contained in Guatemala's smoke free law.  The petitioner claimed that, among other things, the challenged provisions, which prohibit smoking in any enclosed space except for hotels and motels and establish pecuniary penalties for offenders, violate the freedom of industry and commerce.  Referencing the FCTC and emphasizing that the Guatemala Constitution recognizes health as a fundamental right of every person, the Court upheld the law.  Among other reasons for its decision, the Court concluded that the purpose of the challenged provisions is to regulate tobacco consumption to protect the right to health, not to limit the sale of tobacco products.

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