HomeNewsBriefWhat Fate Awaits MACCIH in Honduras?
ANALYSIS

What Fate Awaits MACCIH in Honduras?

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 DEC 2019 BY MARIA ALEJANDRA NAVARRETE AND HÉCTOR SILVA ÁVALOS EN

The Honduran Congress has advised President Juan Orlando Hernández not to renew the mandate of the international anti-corruption mission that has helped to investigate government officials accused of stealing public funds, among them several congressmen.

The recommendation by the legislative branch raises serious doubts about the future of a mission that has facilitated investigations into political and economic elites that, until recently, were untouchable.

On December 10, the national congress voted on a 30 plus page recommendation stating that the executive branch should not renew the agreement for the creation of the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras - MACCIH), citing alleged violations of rights, guarantees and constitutional principles.

With 71 votes in favor and 57 votes against the report, it was approved and sent to the office of President Juan Orlando Hernández as input for his decision regarding the future of the Mission, whose mandate expires on January 19.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profile

The vote took place just days after the United States government, acting through its embassy in Tegucigalpa, requested the continuation of the MACCIH, considering that it plays a central role in ending corruption and improving governance conditions in Honduras, La Prensa reported.

Since its creation by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Honduran government in 2016, the Mission has been responsible for investigating cases involving public and private corruption networks.

According to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), at least 115 people are currently being processed through investigations led by the Mission, among them more than 70 officials from President Hernández’s government.

Due to the MACCIH’s influence and the international support it brought to Honduras, a specialized corruption unit was created within the Honduran Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Special Prosecutor’s Unit Against Impunity and Corruption (Unidad Fiscal Especial contra la Impunidad de la Corrupción - UFECIC). This unit investigates, among other things, embezzlement within the Congress and illicit campaign financing within the ruling National Party.

A Honduran prosecutor, knowledgeable of UFECIC’s work, told InSight Crime that MACCIH’s eventual departure would make the special prosecutor’s work extremely difficult.

InSight Crime Analysis

With less than a month until the MACCIH’s mandate expires, there are three possible scenarios for the future of the international oversight entity in Honduras.

In the first scenario, President Hernández could decide to extend the Mission’s mandate for another four years due to the international political cost of not doing so.

Due to the technical character of the MACCIH over the years, removed from scandals or political discussions, and its ongoing lines of investigation, the entity has managed to legitimize its mandate on an international level. This has translated, for example, into the support of the American executive branch and both Republican and Democratic congressmen in Washington.

Following an internal evaluation by the Mission that was endorsed by the US government, the OAS has also asked for MACCIH’s continuance.

However, and despite international pressures, there is another possible scenario according to contacts consulted in Tegucigalpa: that President Hernández, who has also been accused of corruption, decides to cancel the Mission using the congress’ non-renewal request to support his decision.

For this reason, governments like the United States have insisted on the Mission’s continuance, not only for its work but also as a way to keep Hernández’s administration, widely accused of corruption, in line.

SEE ALSO: Honduras Anti-Graft Body Secures Historic Conviction of Former First Lady

In this scenario, the private sector’s position would be important, which has supported the MACCIH’s continuance, Pedro Barquero, executive director of Honduras' Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cortés (Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Cortés - CCIC), told the media.

The third possible scenario is a combination of the two previous scenarios: the president allows the continuance of the Mission, but with several changes to its mandate.

In order to reduce pressure on both sides, it is possible that the two influences that have closely followed MACCIH’s work in Tegucigalpa coincide, resulting in Hernández’s government extending the mandate, but for a shorter period of time and limiting its functions.

In the third scenario, especially if the time frame should be shorter than four years, many of the ongoing investigations would likely remain inconclusive, due to a lack of time and resources, the prosecutor told InSight Crime.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BARRIO 18 / 21 MAR 2012

The government says a wave of violence in northern Honduras that left at least 11 people dead within 48 hours…

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 JUN 2020

In 2015 and 2016, anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala saw a ray of hope, as criminal investigations led to the resignation…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 16 OCT 2020

The US arrest of Mexico's former defense minister on drug charges confirms what has been alleged by traffickers themselves: that the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…