Those who are convicted of committing crimes against cultural heritage in Honduras will soon be facing a mandatory sentencing scheme. The Honduran Congress is expected to establish mandatory sentences, which will be the first of their kind, in 2013.
According to authorities, there have been 304 cases of cultural property theft in Honduras from 2001 to 2012. Because the Honduran penal code currently does not address crimes against cultural heritage, however, these crimes have been difficult to stop. With the new sentences in place, those convicted of smuggling items of cultural heritage will face a mandatory sentence of 9 to 12 years. Illegally possessing items of cultural heritage will carry a mandatory sentence of 2 to 4 years.
According to Special Prosecutor for Ethnic Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Janny del Cid, “There are significant challenges and the investigations are expensive, but we’re seeking to amend the laws to increase the sentences and thereby more effectively combat this crime, which affects the entire country.”