Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (center-right) and OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro (center-left) sign MACCIH agreement

Honduras' new anti-impunity body will make its debut investigating high-profile corruption in the country's social security administration and police forces, but questions regarding the transparency of the country's judicial nomination and selection process cast a shadow over the commission's hopes for success. 

A source linked to the Organization of American States (OAS) has confirmed the newly constituted Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras – MACCIH) will begin its work investigating the corruption scandal that rocked the country's Social Security Institute (Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social - IHSS), along with investigating the broader problem of police corruption, reported La Tribuna

The final agreement to operationalize MACCIH, a joint project between the Honduran government and the OAS, was signed on January 19. In a statement made during the agreement signing, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro made specific reference to the IHSS scandal, while also making the case for broader reforms to Honduras' justice system. 

On the heels of the MACCIH launch, Honduras' congress is preparing to select 15 new supreme court justices on January 25. In anticipation of the selections, the American Bar Association (ABA) has released a report calling for increased transparency and greater emphasis on qualifications in Honduras' judicial nomination process. After looking closely at the past rulings and records of the justices who made it through the first filter of congressional consideration, the ABA found among them: justices who had been formally denounced for abusing power and falsifying public documents, justices whose rulings contradicted international norms, and justices whose rulings had been overturned by superior courts. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The news that MACCIH will make its debut investigating the IHSS scandal and the broader problem of police corruption comes as both welcome and unsurprising. The IHSS scandal catalyzed much of the anti-corruption groundswell in Honduras that prompted calls for a new anti-impunity body in the first place, and police corruption has been a long-recognized problem in the broader Honduran judicial landscape. The choice to immediately tackle high profile investigations will likely prove popular. However, it does raise the stakes of those investigations, and leaves the newly formed and relatively inexperienced MACCIH with little room for error. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The ABA's concerns about the qualifications of judges being considered for supreme court nomination also cast a shadow over the excitement surrounding MACCIH's launch. Ultimately, the anti-impunity mission will only be as effective as the judicial system it is charged with accompanying, assessing, and overseeing.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network. The BACRIM's roots lie in the demobilized paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...