President Juan Orlando Hernandez gave more details about a recently-created commission meant to "purge" the police of officers involved in corruption and human rights abuses, as security forces have been widely criticized for participating in the country's violence with total impunity.
The commission will be able to dismiss police officers “without justification," and even after being dismissed, the police officers could still remain under investigation, Hernandez told Radio HRN.
However, the president did not abandon his militarized approach, even if many human rights reports have linked militarization of national security with a significant increase in human rights violations, especially in Honduras, Colombia and Mexico, where the military receives a heavy financial support from the United States.
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In the interview, Hernandez repeated that impunity and insecurity in Honduras was above all rooted in drug-trafficking, which "consumed state institutions, including the police, between 2006 and 2009."
“Honduras was obviously drug traffickers' favorite operating place around 2007 and 2009,” he said.
He was referring to the presidential term of Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009), who was ousted from power by a military coup in June 2009 after he aligned himself and the nation with the Bolivarian left and against the ruling elite. A few months after the coup, a parliamentary/military junta appointed Hernandez as the new president of the national congress.
He eventually was elected president in 2013 after an electoral campaign promising “to put a soldier in every corner.”
However, human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned a spike of human rights violations after the 2009 coup, with many forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of land-right activists, LGBT advocates, and journalists, among others.
The president announced the move since his government is under international fire over the murder of prominent activist Berta Caceres when she was under police protection.