Attacks on Justice 2005: Honduras

Latin America
Issue: Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Document Type: Publication
Date: 2008

The Honduran Judiciary remains deeply politicized with the highest judicial offices still being distributed between the two main parties.

This was illustrated by the election of Supreme Court Judges in January 2002, and the election of the new Prosecutor General in February 2004. Judges do not enjoy security of tenure since they can be removed at the discretion of the Supreme Court President, who is alleged to be guided by political considerations.

After a legal struggle with the Supreme Court, Congress amended the Constitution in order to confer upon itself the right to have the final say in the interpretation of the Constitution. Official corruption within all state institutions, including the judiciary, remains a serious and unaddressed problem.

The Office of the Prosecutor experienced a crisis after about 200 prosecutors went on strike following the removal of ten of their colleagues from office for criticizing a decision of the Prosecutor General in October 2004.

Threatened with being removed by Congress over alleged irregularities in the functioning of his Office, Prosecutor General Navarro resigned on 28 June 2005 and was replaced by Leónidas Rosa Bautista.

Having entered into force in February 2002, the new Code of Criminal Procedure is expected to improve the fairness and efficiency of the criminal justice system. However, impunity, particular with regard to the rising number of violent child deaths, continues unabated.

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