Friday, May 7, 2010

Part Of The Problem

The not so Supreme Court in Honduras just showed more of why it is a major part of the problem in Honduras. Last night the Supreme Court voted 10 to 5 to dismissed four judges and a public defender. The dismissed judges crimes? They criticized, in various ways, the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

The dismissed professionals are Adán Guillermo Lopez, Luis Alonso Chevez, Tirza Flores, Ramon Enrique Barrios, and Osman Fajardo. All are members of the Association of Judges for Democracy, a group of judges and magistrates who opposed the coup.

Lopez, Fajardo, and Chevez were dismissed for participating in anti-coup rallies. Barrios was dismissed for writing an article that questioned the position of the Supreme Court that called the coup a "constitutional succession". Flores was dismissed for submitting a constitutional appeal of the charges against Manuel Zelaya Rosales and members of his cabinet before the Supreme Court.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), an NGO promoting human rights in the Americas, condemned their dismissal. The regional director of CEJIL, Alejandra Nuño, said in a press release that the dismissal,
"signified a reprisal for the exercise of the right of free expression and of association; its also a clear intimidating message for any other judicial functionary who questions the authorities who supported the coup."

"This is a setback for judicial independence. The court has sent a message that judges should not be critical, but rather submissive and obedient," said Tirza Flores. The Association of Judges for Democracy called the dismissals "arbitrary and unjustified" with a "hint of politics". The group said it would pursue an appeal of the dismissals until internal possibilities were exhausted, and from there proceed to the International Court of Human Rights.

CEJIL announced it will work for their return "in all the legal, political, and diplomatic spaces."

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