Fleeting Success: The Legacy of Honduras’ International Anti-Corruption Mission
64 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020 Last revised: 7 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 2020
In January 2016, the Honduran government of President Juan Orlando Hernández signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) to create an international anti-corruption mission called the Mission in Support of the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, known as “MACCIH.” During its four-year span, the Mission’s expert investigators worked in integrated teams with investigators and prosecutors from the Public Ministry (equivalent to the Attorney-General’s office) to indict 133 individuals in 15 criminal cases. Indictees included the former first lady, senior government officials, prominent businessmen, labor union representatives, and over two dozen current and former legislators. However, this experiment in international help with the rule of law enjoyed only fleeting success and closed in January 2020 as a result of concerted efforts by Honduran political and economic elites.
This report draws conclusions about the legacy and lessons of MACCIH, analyzing the political, juridical, social, and institutional impact of the OAS Mission. The report considers the extent to which MACCIH has contributed to the fight against corruption and impunity. It assesses the Mission according to its mandate, but also seeks to understand its social and political significance for Honduran society. Finally, it analyzes MACCIH as an example of a particular type of tool of national and international decisionmakers – an international body created at the request of a national government to work in close collaboration with authorities and civil society in the realm of rule of law and anti-impunity.
Keywords: Honduras, MACCIH, Organization of American States, Corruption, Justice
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