In Free Trade Move, Honduras Privatizes Three Cities, Extremely (A New Kind of Company Town?)

by Peter Spiro

Story here:

Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project. . . .

The “model cities” will have their own judiciary, laws, governments and police forces. They also will be empowered to sign international agreements on trade and investment and set their own immigration policy.

To make it even weirder, appeals from courts in the cities would be to Mauritius and then to the UK Privy Council (according to this earlier report).

This strikes me as the leading edge of a potentially huge development, in which private actors more formally get their own pieces of turf and the lines between sovereign entities further blur. This is by no means to necessarily to celebrate the development (science fiction suggests this dystopian destination). But it does deepen the challenge to received doctrine, and it will require legal innovation to situate the new, private city-state in the world of international law.

http://opiniojuris.org/2012/09/17/honduras-privatizes-three-cities-a-new-kind-of-company-town/

One Response

  1. In case you are interested, this is the Unofficial Translation of the Honduran Law that created the Private Cities http://coredhn.squarespace.com/storage/documents/Constitutional%20Statute%20RED%20Unofficial%20Translation.pdf 

    Article 7 states:

    “The REDʼs [i.e. the private cities] can sign international treaties and agreements on issues related to trade and cooperation on matters within its competence, provided that they are approved by the National Congress.
    The REDʼs may execute agreements with national or international intelligence service agencies to combat organized crime”. 

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