Press Release

IACHR Condemns Murder of Judge in Honduras

July 30, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Honduras of Mireya Efigenia Mendoza Peña, a trial court judge in El Progreso, Yoro, and undersecretary of the “Asociación Jueces por la Democracia” [“Judges for Democracy” Association], which works to defend Honduran magistrates and judges.

According to information the Commission has received, on July 24, 2013, Mireya Efigenia Mendoza Peña was leaving a shopping center in her SUV when she was killed by multiple gunshots fired by two hit men on motorcycles. According to information reported by the National Human Rights Commission, her death brings to 64 the number of legal professionals who have lost their lives under violent circumstances since January 2010.

As the IACHR stated in its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, if States fail to guarantee the security of their judges and magistrates against all types of external pressures, including reprisals directly targeting judges and their families, the exercise of judicial functions may be gravely affected, frustrating the free development of the judicial function and impeding access to justice for victims of human rights violations.

The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State’s obligation to proactively investigate acts of this nature. The Commission insists on the need to create special protocols that make it possible to conduct investigations into cases involving attacks on justice operators and ensure punishment for those who are responsible. The Commission also urges the State of Honduras to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and safety of judges and magistrates and, more generally, all those who work in the field of justice in Honduras.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 55/13