Honduran court, lawmakers push back against MACCIH (March. 21, 2018)
The Honduran Supreme Court accepted a case challenging an OAS backed international anti-graft commission's legality. The case was presented earlier this month by a group of lawyers representing lawmakers accused of corruption by the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH). The Mission began work in 2016 and collaborates with the public ministry in corruption cases, reports La Prensa.
The MACCIH convoked an emergency meeting of supportive lawmakers for today in light of the judicial decision to accept the case, reports El Heraldo. Lawmakers were divided yesterday, with some saying potential MACCIH abuses should be investigated and others saying this is a death knell for the anti-impunity commission's efforts, reports Proceso Digital.
Also yesterday, Honduran lawmakers passed reforms to the asset forfeiture law, so that it would apply only to drug trafficking and not other corruption cases, reports El Heraldo. The reform is retroactive and could benefit former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla, who was arrested on corruption allegations earlier this month, reports El Heraldo.
It's the continuation of an ongoing crisis with the OAS backed body in Honduras. In January lawmakers passed a bill limiting the MACCIH's ability to investigate misuse of public funds, the so-called "impunity pact." (See Jan. 24's post.) In February the MACCIH head, Juan Jímenez Mayor quit, citing lack of OAS support and obstacles placed by the Honduran government. (See Feb. 16's post.)
In Plaza Pública Alberto Pradilla analyzes the struggle against Guatemala and Honduras' international anti-corruption missions, signaling that in both cases entrenched elites are pushing back against potential danger in the midst of a graft-induced political crisis. In both countries as well the left-wing opposition is uncomfortable with the international nature of the commissions, but also supportive of their missions. However, he delves into the unique aspects behind Honduras' MACCIH crisis, noting the underlying issue of an illegitimate Congress after last year's questioned elections.
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