The Law Society has called for the president of Honduras to intervene personally to protect legal professionals after the murder of a judge.
Trial court judge Mireya Mendoza Pena was gunned down last month as she sat at the wheel of her car, becoming the 64th legal professional to have been killed in the central American republic since 2010.
This week Law Society president Nicholas Fluck (pictured) wrote to President Porfirio Lobo Sosa calling for his help in ensuring the safety of judges and lawyers in the country.
‘On behalf of the Law Society, I respectfully urge you to establish and impartial and thorough investigation into the murder of Mireya Mendoza Pena,’ said Fluck. ‘I further urge that the authorities work to ensure the safety of judges, lawyers and human rights defenders, in accordance with those instruments ratified and recognized by Honduras.’
Judge Mendoza was an executive member of the Association of Judges for Democracy, a non-governmental organisation working to strengthen the justice system in Honduras.
It has been widely reported that armed men on a motorbike fired around 20 shots at her, but just one suspect has since been arrested.
Of the 64 legal professionals killed in Honduras since 2010, it is understood 97% of these murders remain unsolved.
In the wake of the murder of Judge Mendoza, Latin America human rights group WOLA, together with 15 Honduran organisations and 25 international groups, wrote to the Honduran government calling for immediate action.
The letter said: ‘For the signatory organisations, the murder of Judge Mendoza does not only entail the irreparable loss of a lawyer committed to justice and democracy, but her death is of the utmost concern due to the inevitable chilling effect that this type of event has on everyone committed to the pursuit of justice.’
Honduras became a party to the UN International Convention of Civil and Political Rights in 1997 and is also a signatory to a UN convention safeguarding the security of lawyers.