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article imageHonduras sets up anti-corruption team to weed out rogue cops

By Yukio Strachan     Jun 3, 2012 in World
Honduras, one of the most dangerous places on Earth, set up a new anti-corruption commission Friday to weed out rogue officials in the judicial system and national police force.
"We're tired of not having a (security) system in which its members ensure justice and give confidence to the people," said President Porfirio Lobo, according to the BBC.
Honduras' legal system is plagued by corruption, apathy and incompetence.
For example, IBT news reports, in 2006, of the more than 63,000 criminal complaints that were filed, only about 1,000 ultimately resulted in a conviction.
The Associated Press says that both institutions have been infiltrated by drug traffickers.
Over the last six months, Lobo, who took office in January 2010, has removed dozens of corrupt police officers from the force, on the heels of reports from the U.S. and U.N. that Honduran police have committed grave human rights abuses and participated directly in the nation's violent drug business.
And now many more have got to go.
"There are more than 4,000 police officers that will have to leave the institution because of their illicit activities, which point to corruption at different levels," said Honduran Congressman Augusto Cruz Asensio, Honduras Weekly reports. "What we are looking to do is clean up the institution and give it credibility again so that the population can have confidence in the National Police."
The National Police currently employs a total of 14,087 members, including 846 officials, 11,897 regular police, and 1,344 auxiliary police -- meaning that if the planned firings are carried out, the institution will lose 28 percent of it current force.
This suggests that, during the interim period in which the government is hiring and training new officers, Honduras will continue to rely heavily on its armed forces for many policing functions.
According to the United Nations, Honduras now has the world's highest murder rate (four times greater than that of blood-soaked Mexico), with a homicide recorded every hour and 15 minutes, according to The National Commission for Human Rights, IBT news reports.
In 2011, this tiny nation of only 8 million people recorded 86 murders per 100,000 inhabitants (the highest rate on the planet), up from 82 in the prior year, and double the rate from just six years ago. In contrast, Mexico's rate is about 18 murders per 100,000 inhabitants -- it's about five in the U.S., while Britain records just one.
More about Honduras, President Porfirio Lobo, drug traffickers, police corruption, anticorruption commission
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