IACHR Calls on Honduras to Adopt Transparent, Participatory Process to Select Supreme Court Members

October 20, 2022

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Washington, D.C. – Considering the upcoming selection of members of the Honduran Supreme Court of Justice (CJS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the State of Honduras to adopt a transparent, participatory process to recruit suitable candidates in compliance with international standards.

The IACHR has been monitoring the ongoing proceedings to select CSJ members. According to Honduran law, a nominating board that was set up on September 15, 2022, will need to nominate 45 candidates before the National Congress by January 23, 2023. From that list, Congress will need to choose 15 individuals with seven-year mandates. Seven of the CSJ members will need to be women, according to new legislation on nominating board operations that was published in July 2022.

The IACHR notes that an appropriate nomination and selection process is essential to ensure the independence of judicial officers. The report provides the details of various guarantees that need to be ensured in nomination and selection processes. The report stresses that the goal must be to appoint judicial officers based on applicant merit and professional ability and on the specific characteristics of the work they are set to do. It is therefore essential to adopt pre-established, objective criteria to assess candidates, to prevent discretionary decisions by the institutions involved in the process.

Judicial officers play an essential role to ensure access to justice and preserve the rule of law. The IACHR therefore calls on the State to ensure that the selection process complies with minimum standards concerning merit, ability, suitability, and honesty, as required by international human rights law to ensure judicial independence.

The IACHR stresses that, in order to publicize the process to select CSJ members and ensure its transparency, it is crucial to secure broad participation from civil society and other stakeholders, to make sure they know the selection criteria and are able to express their opinion on the different candidates.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 236/22

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