HomeNewsBriefHonduran Court Declares Police Cleanup Law Unconstitutional
BRIEF

Honduran Court Declares Police Cleanup Law Unconstitutional

HONDURAS / 29 NOV 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

The Honduran Supreme Court has declared a law aimed at cleaning up the country's notoriously corrupt police force to be unconstitutional on the same day that the government sought to extend that very legal measure, adding yet another barrier to law enforcement reform in Honduras.

The law had laid out the procedures under which the government could purge the National Police of corrupt elements. However, on November 26, a five-member body known as the Constitutional Branch of the Honduran Supreme Court declared it to be unconstitutional

The court had its reasons. While the law required every police officer to undergo an extensive vetting process -- including background checks, drug tests and lie detector tests, and stipulated that failure of any of these is grounds for removal from the force -- it also made it impossible for officers to appeal the dismissal.

The ruling came on the same day that the law expired. President Porfirio Lobo called on congress to pass an extension of it. Because the branch's ruling was not unanimous (a four-to-one decision), the final say on the law will now go to the full Supreme Court, comprised of 15 judges. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The ruling is just the latest obstacle to police reform efforts in the country, home to one of the most corrupt police forces in the region. While President Lobo initiated an ambitious reform program last year, creating an independent commission to oversee the effort, progress has been slow. Only a fraction of the estimated 14,000 police officers in the country have been vetted, and the process itself has come under political and legal fire.

In October, in just one of the latest efforts to derail the reform, a number of police officials accused the head of police, Juan Carlos Bonilla, of pursuing a political agenda in dismissing certain officers. 

Regardless of their merit, these allegations have served to distract reform efforts, which are badly needed. In 2011, one congressman said that 40 percent of police officers had links to organized 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 / 25 JUL 2013

A key witness disappeared during the trial of several Barrio 18 gang members accused of carrying out a massacre, in…

COCA / 26 MAY 2017

Authorities have located coca plantations in Honduras, a sign that the Central American nation could be evolving from its traditional…

HONDURAS / 2 JUL 2015

A report from a non-governmental human rights organization highlights the poor conditions of Honduras' prisons, an issue exacerbated by judicial delays…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

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…