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  Honduran Coup Myths Dispelled
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Oct 27, 2009 02:26pm
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CategoryReport
AuthorStewart J. Lawrence
News DateTuesday, October 27, 2009 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionTwo new reports dealing with the June 28 military coup in Honduras have demolished the arguments of the current de facto government and its foreign apologists that the coup was consistent with the Honduran constitution and that most Hondurans welcomed the illegal ouster of the country’s democratically elected president, Mel Zelaya.

In a recent commentary published on the Forbes Magazine web site, two veteran human rights lawyers, Juan Mendez and Viviana Krsticevic, take to task the authors of a recent analysis prepared for the US Congress that suggested that the Honduran constitution allowed the Honduran Congress to remove Zelaya from office. In fact, the Honduran Congress has no formal impeachment power and the vote to remove Zelaya was merely a legislative decree that was of dubious legality, the authors note. In 2003, the Honduran Supreme Court had struck down the efforts of the Honduran legislature to assert its independent authority – but according to the authors, that didn’t keep the legislature from invoking this same authority to try – wrongly - to justify legal action against Zelaya.

The Honduran Supreme Court was also complicit in violating the Honduran Constitution, Mendez and Krsticevic note. Most notably, the Court ordered the armed forces to capture Zelaya and search the presidential residence, despite the fact that article 293 of the Constitution explicitly establishes that the national police, not the army, execute all legal decisions and resolutions, in accordance with the principle of civilian rule. There were also due process violations that occurred throughout the criminal proceedings against Zelaya. Zelaya was never read his rights, informed of the charges against him, or provided access to his lawyers while being detained, then forcibly expelled from the country.
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