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MACCIH-OAS: Six Months of Anti-Corruption Reforms in Honduras

  December 1, 2016

-First Semi-Annual Report presented to the OAS Permanent Council

The OAS Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) today presented its first semi-annual report to the Permanent Council of the institution in which the implementation of several structural reforms against corruption and impunity are highlighted.

Through “active collaboration” with Honduran authorities, the Mission has laid the groundwork for the implementation of deep legislative and judicial reforms, while fostering the participation of civil society in the search for solutions.

The MACCIH has also supported the investigation of specific corruption cases of particular relevance to Honduran society.

The Spokesperson for MACCIH and representative of the Secretary General, Juan Jiménez Mayor, who presented the report to the Permanent Council, said “much has been achieved in these six months in terms of preparing a legal-juridical platform to facilitate the investigation and punishment of those guilty of crimes of corruption. That´s where we are headed now.”

The 38 page report summarizes the work of the Mission, which now consists of 24 members and which in the near future will consist of 70 members. Among the most significant achievements are:

· At the proposal of the MACCIH-OAS, Honduras approved national anti-corruption jurisdiction, to judge the corrupt through a new system of national independent justices who will have security, better salaries and will not be selected by political parties, but by a committee in which the MACCIH will participate. These judges will not receive instructions from anyone.

· Also at the proposal of the MACCIH-OAS, the Law on Clean Politics was approved, which creates an advance model so that parties and candidates can be held accountable for their finances and so that drug traffickers and other criminals cannot contribute to political campaigns. The law creates the Control Unit, a powerful tool that allows for the investigation of suspicious financing operations, with the ability to lift the banking and tax secrecy of those who claim to have financed campaigns. The Unit can punish offenders and even cancel the registration of a party that does not fulfill its obligations, and can also cancel the election of winning candidates financed by illicit funds.

· The Mission began the work of investigating the Social Security case, in which it has discovered that there are 15 judicial cases and 47 pending investigations that have not yet reached the judiciary, only 4 people convicted and 10 fugitives.

· The Mission began the construction, in collaboration with Honduran civil society, of the Justice Observatory, with the aim of providing a more accurate diagnosis of the problems that afflict the judiciary, while providing civil society with a window for it supervision.

· The Mission contributed to the ending of the practice by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of conciliating corruption cases (in which the corrupt avoid investigation if stolen goods were returned). To date, 38 conciliations have been rejected.

“These achievements are owed to the “active collaboration” model with the Honduran state, a pioneering model, in which it is key that the Mission maintains its autonomy and independence but always with the vision of improving in the medium term the quality of justice in Honduras,” added Jiménez Mayor.

The MACCIH was created in response to a request from the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, to the OAS. The Mission, which began its operations in Honduras on April 19, 2016, acts with complete autonomy and independence, and is governed by the agreement signed between the OAS and the Honduran state on January 19, 2016 and, in this framework, by the instructions of its Secretary General. The presentation of semi-annual reports meets the commitments made in the agreement.

Reference: E-229/16