[JURIST] Thousands of protesters marched in Honduras on Friday calling for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez [official website, in Spanish] and demanding an independent investigation into his role in an ongoing corruption scandal. Hernandez is accused of [Reuters report] knowingly using money from a $200 million embezzlement scandal at the Honduran Institute (IHSS) of Social Security to help pay for his 2013 presidential campaign. Hernandez last week acknowledged that his campaign did receive funds [Al Jazeera report] from people involved with the scandal, but stated he and his party had not been made aware of where that money had come from.
Honduras has a history of struggling with corruption and its leaders being forced from power. In January 2013 the Honduran National Congress [official website, in Spanish] approved controversial amendments to the police law [JURIST report] designed to eliminate corruption. Approval came after the congress voted to dismiss four justices [JURIST report] of the country’s Supreme Court [official websites, in Spanish] a week earlier, after the justices ruled that the police reform bill supported by then-president Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] was unconstitutional. Tension between the three branches of government in Honduras has risen recently, and Lobo has expressed concern that he may be forced out of office like his predecessor, who was removed during the 2009 military coup [JURIST report]. In June 2011 the Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared that the coup was unconstitutional [JURIST report] but stated that former president Manuel Zelaya was culpable when he ignored orders of the Supreme Court. Zelaya signed an agreement [JURIST report] in May 2011 allowing his return to the country after nearly two years in exile.