The ICC and the Situation in Honduras

If the Honduran judicial system is not seriously amended, and human rights matters are not addressed properly by the State, more abuses will continue to be committed with impunity.
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The preliminary examination of the situation in Honduras - State Party to the ICC since 1 July 2002- began on 18 November 2010 and focused mainly on events that occurred since the coup d'etat of 2009. On that date, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant against President Zelaya and implemented a curfew. The social upheaval and repression carried out by the armed security forces continued unceasingly and without disruption, even after the general elections in November of that year, when President Lobo was elected. Once he sworn in, Lobo declared a general amnesty for the crimes committed during the aftermath of the coup (with the exception of the crimes against humanity and the serious human rights violations) and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to "throw some light to the events held on 28 June, 2009".

In May 2014, UNICEF expressed "its deep concern at the situation of violence and abuse affecting children in the country," warning that "violence and the insecurity currently constitute a legitimate concern of the population and the Government" and alerted on the killing of 18 children since the beginning of 2014.

Women continue to be victims of violence and the crimes against them remain in impunity. According to the Center for Women's Rights, from January to June 2014, there were 264 violent deaths of women. Those numbers were higher in comparison to those reported in 2012- 2013.

In December 2014, Casa Alianza indicated that from January to December of 2014 there were 1,031 cases of killings and arbitrary executions of children and young people under 23 years; 18 more cases than in 2013. A chilling record, that includes reports of the increase in the violence against women and girls, who, according to Casa Alianza, contrasts with the " Government advertising that violence has declined" adding that "as well as increased executions of children, the population has increased the perception of widespread insecurity".

Why "government advertising"?

A few days ago, local newspapers informed that President Hernández was "congratulated" by UNODC´s Federov, because of the "national strategy to reduce the number of homicides, which dropped from 86 to 66 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014". Even if that is true - something that seems not to be such according to civil society organizations - remains high for a country of 8.2 million people.

Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist: Reporters without Borders states that after the coup, 27 journalists were killed. Article 19 defined the situation in Honduras as "delicate", for those who engaged in that profession.

The ICC report states that "the June 2009 coup was accompanied by serious human rights violations directly attributable to authorities in the de facto regime", the ICC/OTP Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda concluded that "here is no reasonable basis to believe that this conduct constitutes crimes against humanity under the Statute".

Victims and their families will have to rely on the weak Honduran judicial system, despite the fact that several organizations stated that the country made very little progress prosecuting human rights abuses.

The good news- so to speak- is that "in relation to more recent allegations of crimes, the Office intends to reach a determination on whether acts reported constitute crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court in the near future".

If the Honduran judicial system is not seriously amended, and human rights matters are not addressed properly by the State, more abuses will continue to be committed with impunity.

The victims and their families, deserve Truth, Justice and Memory.

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