Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Just Politics, Says Interpol

La Tribuna reported today that the Interpol spokesperson in Honduras, Orlin Cerrato, announced that Interpol in Honduras will no longer forward international arrest warrants against Manuel Zelaya Rosales and his former Ministers because Interpol believes them to be political crimes:
In cases of political, ethnic and religious or military situations, sincerely they won't follow up on such notices.

Since the June 28 coup, the Public Prosecutor, Luis Rubi, has been issuing arrest warrant after arrest warrant, and the Interpol office in Honduras has been dutifully forwarding red notice requests, as Interpol refers to these arrest orders, on to Interpol headquarters in France, where nothing happened. Scans of the Interpol red notice request form for Manuel Zelaya were among the documents circulating in my email shortly after the coup.

On July 3, 2009, Interpol issued a statement denying it had received any red notice requests for President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. In the press release it clarified that international law prevents it from issuing a red notice on any President, Head of State or Government unless the notice was requested by an international tribunal.

Then on July 7, Interpol told the press,
The charges against President Zelaya of misuse of authority, usurpation of public functions, offences against the system of government, and treason were assessed as being of a political nature with no ordinary-law crime element.

On February 5, Cerrato, who many of you will remember as spokesperson for the National Police in the de facto regime of Micheletti, told El Heraldo that the Secretary General of Interpol had commissioned a legal study of the red notices against Zelaya and former members of his administration when the first one came in shortly after the coup.

Well, word has finally filtered back to Honduras and Cerrato is informing the Public Minister, and the press, that Interpol will not be pursuing these red notices because they are of a political nature, and Interpol will not pursue them.

Ironically this comes days after the Interpol head in Honduras was reported to have said to a reporter that he didn't understand why Interpol Headquarters in France was ignoring the international arrest warrants for Zelaya and his ministers coming from his office.

So, La Tribuna reported today what the rest of the world knew last July, that Interpol was not going to pursue Honduras's red notice requests against Zelaya or former members of his administration because they were recognizably nothing more than political persecution.

And it bears underlining that for all the talk of the Lobo Sosa administration being a change from the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti, Lobo Sosa did not end the emission of warrants against Zelaya government officials. The same Public Prosecutor remains in power; many other members of the Micheletti regime, like Orlin Cerrato, continue to occupy positions of influence in the government or civil society. The coup is still the present, not the past.

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