Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Definitive Verdict: Final Answer?

Remember when Romeo Vásquez Velásquez and the other generals were "tried" for kidnapping President Zelaya and forcibly sending him to Costa Rica back in 2009? The Public Prosecutor eventually lodged a case against them, and that case was heard by the Chief Justice, Jorge Rivera Áviles, who found them not guilty.

Well, that case is back.

The case was brought after Porfirio Lobo Sosa assumed the presidency in January 2010, and heard last January. Rivera Aviles handed down a definitive verdict of "not guilty".

The Public Prosecutor, Luis Rubí appealed, lost, and appealed again and got a split decision. The Supreme Court appeals panel that heard the case, the 5 judges of the Constitutional branch of the court, could not agree on a verdict. Four voted to uphold the verdict, and 1 voted to reject it. They had to be unanimous in their decision to reach a verdict.

So the case moves to the entire Supreme Court for them to try and reach a verdict. Today the entire Supreme Court will meet and vote on this case. Tomas Arita Valle, the judge who issued the arrest order for Zelaya, will preside over this hearing. The court can issue a definitive and final verdict, or remand the case to a panel to study the options and make recommendations.

The Supreme Court split, 10 to 5, on the issue of punishing the judges later fired for supporting Zelaya. I can't imagine the decision today will be all that different.

No comments: