Thursday, May 20, 2010

Political Expediency

On May 7 the Honduran Supreme Court dismissed 4 judges and a magistrate allegedly for participating in political activity opposed to the coup. It has taken no action against those judges who marched in favor of the coup. We blogged about their dismissal at the time. At the time, NGO's like the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) denounced the dismissals as "significant reprisals" and as a "clear intimidating message" for other justices in Honduras. No one in Honduras said much of anything about it, except the Frente de Resistencia.

Fast forward to yesterday, when the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) released a statement on the state of human rights in Honduras after a fact finding visit to the country. The IACHR release called out the dismissal of the judges as particularly troubling.
"Of particular concern are the acts of harassment directed against judges who participated in activities against the coup d’├ętat. The Commission met with members of the Association of Judges for Democracy who were dismissed from their posts by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ). Notwithstanding the formal reasons that could be argued by the Supreme Court, the reasons that motivated the process and the final decision are undoubtedly linked to participation in anti-coup demonstrations or to having expressed an opinion against the coup d’├ętat. The inter-American human rights system has repeatedly underscored the central role of the judiciary in the functioning of a democratic system. It is unacceptable that those persons in charge of administering justice who were opposed to the democratic rupture would face accusations and dismissals for defending democracy. The IACHR urgently calls for a reversal of this situation that seriously undermines the rule of law."

Suddenly there's a flurry of condemnations of the Supreme Court's action. UD party member Marvin Ponce introduced a bill to form a commission to study the dismissal in Congress, but the President of Congress, Juan Orlando Hernandez suspended discussion saying it needed more time than could be allotted to the discussion yesterday. Also yesterday Porfirio Lobo Sosa, in Spain, said it was hurting his efforts to win recognition for Honduras. Then he said
"This is a subject that I've discussed with the President of the Court (Jorge Rivera Avilez), and I said you should not take any action that is not appropriate for peace and stability in Honduras, and although they suggested that they were not going to do it, they did."

Lobo expressed support for the Congressional investigation.

The question is, where were these people 12 days ago when the Supreme Court acted? Why did it take them this long to express their concerned. Could it be there's only concern now because there's political cover in the IACHR report for being concerned? Only time will tell.

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