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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03TEGUCIGALPA1615 2003-07-08 16:43:00 SECRET Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

HONDURAN ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFERS EXCUSES;

Tags:   SNAR PGOV PREL PINR KJUS KCRM ECON HO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 001615 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL/LP, INR/AN/IAA, EB, AND L
STATE FOR WHA, WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2013
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL PINR KJUS KCRM ECON HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAN ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFERS EXCUSES;
AMBASSADOR DEMANDS RESULTS

REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 1109


B. TEGUCIGALPA 1258

C. TEGUCIGALPA 1614

Classified By: Ambassador Larry L. Palmer for Reasons 1.5 (B) and (D)



1. (C) SUMMARY: On June 26 Ambassador and DCM met with
Honduran Attorney General (AG), Roy Medina, to discuss
corruption in the Public Ministry (PM) and the lack of any
serious effort to prosecute high-level criminal cases by the
Attorney General's office. This meeting came a day after
Ambassador's meeting with President Maduro where similar
issues were discussed (ref C). AG Medina acknowledged
shortcomings in the PM; however, he also indicated that
faulty police work and ineffective judges were hampering his
efforts to bring cases to trial. Ambassador told Medina that
the USG expected significant progress soon and that if it was
not forthcoming, Post would reconsider the support it
provides the PM, with a view toward suspending all USG aid to
his office. Narcotrafficking, money laundering, and other
corruption issues were also discussed. END SUMMARY



2. (S) On June 26 Ambassador and DCM meet with Honduran
Attorney General (AG), Roy Medina to discuss corruption in
the Public Ministry (PM) and the lack of any serious effort
to prosecute high-level criminal cases by the Attorney
General's office. Ambassador specifically cited inaction on
cases involving narcotraffickers, money launders, and other
high profile individuals. Ambassador noted that the PM had
no difficulty prosecuting low-level criminal cases, but that
in the Ambassador's nine months at Post, not one high-level
case has been prosecuted. Given the USG's disappointment,
inaction at the PM, and the inertia that seems to have
developed regarding high-profile cases, Ambassador put Medina
on notice that the PM has until August 1 to demonstrate its
commitment and deliver results, or Post would reconsider the
support it provides the PM.



3. (C) As an example of the PM's unwillingness to move
forward against high-profile individuals, Ambassador
mentioned the case of Jose Israel Pineda Duarte (aka Paico),
a well-known major narcotrafficker operating on the North
Coast of Honduras (ref A). Ambassador also made reference to
an anonymous document delivered to the PM which contains
allegations of illicit activity and corrupt officials (Post
also has copy). Medina queried Ambassador whether Post had
done any investigations into the allegations. Ambassador
unequivocally stated that it was the job of the PM to
investigate its own cases.



--------------------------


Public Ministry Inaction on Existing Cases


--------------------------





4. (C) DCM noted that not one of the 160 money laundering
cases before the PM had been acted upon. Medina, in
disbelief, asked an assistant to confirm the number.
According to the PM there were 136 cases. Medina expressed
shock, chagrin, and embarrassment at the number of cases and
indicated that the PM would begin to move forward on them.
When asked by Ambassador about inaction on high-profile drug
related cases, Medina had no response.



5. (C) Medina offered to shake-up the organized crime unit in
an effort to invigorate the PM, but professed that the PM
lacked sufficient resources to effectively prosecute
high-level cases. Medina also claimed that faulty police
work, and judges that summarily dismiss cases, were also to
blame.



--------------------------


Corruption in the Public Ministry


--------------------------





6. (S) Ambassador expressed USG concerns over allegations of
high-level corruption at the PM. Medina indicated that if he
became aware of any wrong-doing that we would dismiss the
individual and assure that he/she went to jail. Ambassador
again reiterated that it was the job of the PM to investigate
cases and that the PM had until August 1 to begin to deliver
results.



7. (C) Medina noted the limited time-frame the PM had to act,
but said he was committed to moving forward on high-level
cases and that his individual honor was on the line. Medina
vowed to get to the bottom of inaction at the PM and claimed
that he would personally work to strengthen the institution.


8. (C) When questioned by Ambassador as to why seized funds
were not in accounts at the Central Bank, Medina claimed that
under Honduran law, all funds must be placed in interest
bearing accounts in the individuals name until the cases are
resolved. Medina assured Ambassador that the accounts were
frozen and tamper proof.



--------------------------


Action (or Inaction) at the DLCN


--------------------------





9. (C) Medina mentioned the recent shake-up at the Direction
in the Fight Against Narcotrafficking (DLCN) and indicated he
was considering offering Gustavo Alfredo ((Landaverde))
Hernandez the deputy position there (ref B). He opined that
Landaverde, as an outspoken critic of the GOH's counter-drug
efforts, might be interested in working with the DLCN to
improve the overall effectiveness of the institution.
(Comment: Post understands that Landaverde is considering
accepting an advisory position at the PM after the AG asked
him to help mend relations with the USG. End Comment)



10. (C) Medina indicated that he intended to augment the
DLCN's force by adding another 30 officers to the current
force of 27. Overall, the DLCN is authorized to employ 100
agents. (Comment: This effort is viewed by many to be too
little, too late. The DLCN has never been an effective tool
for combating narcotrafficking. Perpetually underfunded and
undermanned, the DLCN has seen its scarce resources limited
by the AG. Simply adding another 30 officers to the payroll
will do little to increase the unit's effectiveness. End
Comment) Medina also told the new DLCN head that while the
fight against corruption and drug traffickers was important,
a priority at the PM was increasing its forensic medicine
abilities.



--------------------------


A Time for Talk, a Time for Action


--------------------------





11. (S) Comment: Complaints against the ineffectiveness of
AG Medina are not new. Either through incompetence (but
probably due to corruption) the PM under Medina's leadership
has consistently disappointed those looking for improvements
in the GOH's ability to effectively fight high-profile
criminals. It remains to be seen whether Post's threat to
withdraw support from the PM will have the desired effect,
but if history is any precedent, Post is not optimistic.
Post expects Medina to continue to obfuscate the issues and
pass the blame, rather than face the heat of prosecuting
high-level criminal cases. End Comment.

Palmer