Press Release

IACHR Urges Honduras to Guarantee International Standards for Independence and Impartiality in the Process of Appointing the Country’s New Attorney General

June 21, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – With regard to the forthcoming appointment of the new attorney general of the Republic of Honduras, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the nominating committee to elaborate the list of candidates under strict international human rights standards in order to guarantee the independence and impartiality of the next attorney general throughout the appointment process.

The IACHR has been monitoring the selection process as it has unfolded in Honduras. As is public knowledge, the Congress of Honduras must select a new attorney general from the shortlist of candidates put forward by the nominating committee and must do so before the current attorney general’s term in office comes to an end on September 1, 2018.

The IACHR advises that the objective of all processes for selecting and appointing justice operators should be to choose candidates on the basis of their merits, abilities, suitability for the position, and honesty while complying with international human rights standards around such processes so as to guarantee the independence of these. In this sense, the state must establish safeguards to prevent the use of discretionary power on the part of those involved in the appointment process to ensure that this does is unaffected by personal or political party interests that would interfere with the chosen candidate being the best and most capable for the job.

Commissioner Joel Hernández, the IACHR Rapporteur for Honduras, stated that “the role of the attorney general is essential for access to justice, guaranteeing rule of law, the fight against impunity, and the defense of human rights. Honduras must ensure that all organizations and public bodies playing a part in selection and appointment processes respect the highest standards established in international human rights law so as to guarantee the independence of such processes.”

The IACHR reiterates that all selection processes must be guaranteed to be transparent and public, and we must ensure that the process is open to involvement and scrutiny from different sectors of society.

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 and to defend 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. 131/18