A Honduran police officer

A new report shows 149 people have died at the hands of the Honduran police in the last 23 months, highlighting the urgent need for reform efforts, which are currently being challenged by the Supreme Court.

The report, released on December 1, was compiled by the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras and implicated police officials from commissioners to agents, according to La Prensa. The majority of the victims were aged between 24 and 34 years old, the Observatory found.

The report comes less than a week after the Constitutional Branch of the Honduran Supreme Court declared a police cleanup law unconstitutional.

The law, which went into force June 2012, forced police officers to undergo a series of confidence tests -- including lie detector and drugs tests -- and allowed for their dismissal if they failed. The court ruled against the law as it did not offer accused officers the recourse to appeal. However, as the decision was not unanimous, the case will now pass to the full Supreme Court.

Julieta Castellanos, the president of the National Autonomous University, presented the report and used the release to call on the court to reverse the decision. "We want those who oppose the cleanup law to explain to us what right they have to make these decisions while the country’s citizens are defenseless," she said.

Four police officers were charged with the murder of Castellanos' son and a friend in October 2011.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Constitutional Branch's ruling dismissing the cleanup law was based on valid concerns, especially given allegations that the law was being used by high-ranking police chiefs to remove political rivals and personal enemies rather than removing corrupt elements in earnest. 

However, the new report once again underscores the dire state of the Honduran police force -- widely renowned as one of the most corrupt police forces in the region and has deep ties to organized crime -- and the urgency with which reform measures should be undertaken. If the full Supreme Court upholds the ruling against the cleanup law, it is uncertain how the state would proceed with any future purge measures.

For now, President Porfirio Lobo has declared that reforms will continue despite the ruling, calling the institution an "enemy" of Honduras, reported La Tribuna

Investigations

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

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...