A murder scene in Tegucigalpa

A new study revealed that only one percent of homicide cases in Honduras' three major cities ever resulted in convictions, underscoring the rampant impunity fostered by the country's dysfunctional criminal justice system.

A study conducted by the Alliance for Peace and Justice (APJ), a Honduran NGO, examined 566 homicide cases in the cities of San Pedro Sula, Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, and found that only one percent resulted in convictions, reported Revistazo. The APJ identified the state's inability to carry out quality criminal investigations as the main reason for the lack of convictions, and revealed that evidence -- including the body of the victim -- was collected at the crime scene in only 61 percent of these cases. In addition, criminal investigations were only opened in 8 percent of the cases and only 7 percent ever made it to trial.

At a national level, the APJ found that of the 27,272 homicides that occurred between 2010 and 2013, just 1,009 -- or 3.7 percent -- resulted in convictions.

Iris Fonseca, the Special Prosecutor for Homicides in Honduras, told Revistazo that 2,363 homicides have been registered so far this year in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, but only 129 homicide cases have gone to court.

InSight Crime Analysis

The APJ study underscores the high level of impunity in Honduras facilitated by corruption, lack of training, and an overwhelmed judicial system. According to the figures revealed by the APJ, Honduras' impunity rate for homicides is over 96 percent, which means that there is practically no disincentive for criminal groups -- like the country's powerful street gangs -- to commit murders. Rampant impunity is likely one factor contributing to San Pedro Sula's status as the world's most violent city, and Tegucigalpa's position within the top ten.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

While Honduras has made strides this year in going after powerful drug trafficking groups like the Valle Valle clan, these successes have arguably done little in the short term to improve daily life for Honduran civilians. APJ's findings suggest the country might be better served by investing more resources in strengthening the institutions responsible for the collection of evidence and criminal investigation, rather than focusing its efforts on high-profile captures and extraditions

Investigations

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

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

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...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

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.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...