GENEVA (18 June 2018) – The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, has expressed concern that civil society has been excluded from the most important deliberations of the selection process for a new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General in Honduras. He has called on the Government to ensure the principles of transparency, publicity, participation and objectivity are applied.
Five candidates are due to be submitted to the National Congress for consideration in the coming days. The National Congress is scheduled to elect the officials before the end of August.
“It is deeply concerning that civil society has been on the left on the sidelines during this process to select the country’s top law officers,” said García-Sayán.
“This flies in the face of international human rights standards which state the process should be inclusive, transparent and follow strict, clear and objective criteria to evaluate the integrity, suitability and competences of the candidates.
"It is vital that civil society, observer bodies and any citizen who demonstrates an interest in the selection process can join debates on who is on the list of candidates.
"In particular, it is important that the evaluation of each and every one of them be based on the merits of suitability, capacity and competence, and that such a discussion takes place in the presence of civil society so that it can carry out monitoring and social auditing actions that can have a positive impact on the process.”
The Special Rapporteur also expressed his concern that some of the members of the parliamentary commission in charge of reviewing the candidates have been publicly questioned, or even prosecuted, for corruption. “It is important to guarantee that the methods used by the parliamentary commission mantains public confidence and the respect of the judiciary, the legal profession, and the citizenship,” he added.
Mr. Diego García-Sayán took up his functions as UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in December 2016. Mr. García-Sayán was formerly a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for two consecutive terms. During his tenure, he was elected Vice-President of the Court (2008-2009) and President of the Court for two consecutive terms (2009-2013). He has long-standing experience working on human rights issues in a variety of settings, including for the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Among others, he was: Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Peace Agreements at El Salvador and for the subsequent verification of the agreements reporting directly to the Security Council; member and Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances during several years; member of the Redesign Panel on the United Nations System of Administration of Justice, appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2006; Head of the Electoral Mission of the Organisation of American States (OAs) in Guatemala during the general elections (2007).
Read the Independent Expert’s first report to the UN Human Rights Council.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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