San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduras Proposes ‘Faceless’ Court System

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) – The governmentof Honduran President RicardoMaduro this week announced plans toestablish new judicial proceedings thatwill feature “faceless” judges, prosecutorsand witnesses, to protect the innocent inthe fight against organized crime.“We have analyzed the possibility ofpresenting National Congress with modificationsto the Constitution to make necessarychanges so we can name ‘faceless’judges with a special national jurisdiction,”Maduro said.The President said the changes arenecessary following recent reprisals bydrug traffickers against judges and prosecutingauthorities. Maduro blamed severalrecent brutal slayings on drug traffickers.On June 21, six members of one family– including a three-year-old boy – wereshot to death inside their car outside thenorthern city of San Pedro Sula. A weekearlier, seven people, including two youngchildren, were stabbed to death in thesame region, according to police.Honduran police also suspect drugtraffickers were behind the July 11 murderof incarcerated ex-congressman ArmandoÁvila (TT, July 16) and the July 29 murderof Judge Francisco Sánchez, of thenortheast department of Colón. At leastone other judge from Colón has reportedrecent death threats.Maduro believes the murders are relatedto recent drug busts and convictions.Honduran authorities have intercepted10,000 kilograms of cocaine in the past 18months, exceeding the amount of cocaineconfiscated during the past nine years.“The war against narcotrafficking willcontinue with even stronger dedication.We will not permit this tragic phenomenato continue growing here and overtake ourcountry, as it practically has in othernations in the region,” Maduro said.The President has not yet discloseddetails about how the new “faceless” judicialprocess would work.

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