Honduras will establish an anti-corruption mission with the help of the Organization of American States (OAS), raising questions about whether this new initiative can replicate the success -- and avoid the pitfalls -- of the United Nations-backed anti-impunity body in Guatemala

In a ceremony with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on September 28, Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almargo, announced the creation of the Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH by its Spanish initials). A "jurist of international renown" will reportedly lead the commission. 

The MACCIH's efforts will focus on five areas, including:

    1. Creating an international group of judges and prosecutors, who will oversee investigations at Honduras' Attorney General's Office, known as the Public Ministry.
    2. Producing a "diagnosis" of the current state of Honduras' judicial system, with help from intergovernmental research group the Center for the Study of Justice in the Americas (CEJA by its Spanish initials).
    3. Ensuring Honduras complies with the OAS treaty aimed at tackling corruption.
    4. Implementing the OAS's previous recommendations for improving security in Honduras.
    5. Creating an observatory made up of academics and civil society representatives, who will oversee and promote the implementation of judicial reforms.

The mission as whole will have an initial authorization period of two years. 

The MACCIH has been in the works for months. President Hernandez first proposed such a body in July of this year, and asked for formal support from the OAS in mid-September. In June, thousands of protestors took to the streets in Tegucigalpa to demand an anti-corruption commission for Honduras, similar to Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity (known as the CICIG).

The CICIG, which was set up by the United Nations in 2007, was instrumental in exposing a corruption scheme that ultimately resulted in the downfall of former President Otto Perez Molina

InSight Crime Analysis 

The MACCIH represents a key step in the right direction for anti-corruption efforts in Honduras, but it faces many of the same structural limitations that have plagued the CICIG. Should the MACCIH become too dependent on support from international experts -- who can be expensive to maintain for an extended period of time -- this could discourage investing resources into training up local judges and prosecutors.

SEE ALSO:  Honduras News and Profiles

The proposed two-year time frame for the MACCIH's initial operations is also cause for concern. This is an extremely narrow window to get anything done, let alone secure the results that will be needed to justify the mission's existence. In Guatemala's case, the CICIG has faced multiple, drawn-out political battles over extending its mandate, draining energy that could have been better spent elsewhere. 

Investigations

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

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...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

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...

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...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

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...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

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...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...