Monday, April 21, 2014

Public Prosecutor: ZEDEs Are Legal

It will come to no surprise to anyone keeping track of anything to do with model cities in Honduras that the Public Prosecutor's office has issued an opinion just before Easter finding that the law enabling the new Zonas Especiales de Desarrrollo y Empleo (ZEDE) is legal.  The position paper, requested by the Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court came from the Office for Defense of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court admitted a case challenging the ZEDE law as unconstitutional because in order to pass it Congress changed some of the supposedly unchangeable articles of the Honduran constitution.  The argument is that Congress, in modifying Articles 294, 303, and 329 violated Article 374's provision that prohibits modification of Articles of the Constitution related to the territory and form of government of Honduras, the so called "stoney" articles.  The Constitutional changes  modify clauses that define the territory and form of government of Honduras.

On accepting the case, the court followed procedure in requesting a legal opinion from the Public Prosecutor's office.  It skipped over the step of asking Congress for its documentation, however, putting this appeal on a fast track.

The Public Prosecutor, Oscar Chinchilla was formerly a member of the Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court and was the sole member of that branch to find the original Model Cities legislation constitutional.  His four fellow justices were summarily dismissed (illegally) by the same Honduran Congress that later appointed Chinchilla as Public Prosecutor.

Thus, the opinion in favor of the ZEDE law was never in doubt.

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