Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Report by the Supreme Court: Edmundo Orellana

At 7:58 PM tonight, La Tribuna's minute by minute column reported that
Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, were convened for Wednesday, where they will analyze if the restitution of Manuel Zelaya Rosales should proceed, as the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord indicated.

Magistrados de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, fueron convocados para el día miércoles, donde analizarán si procede la restitución de Manuel Zelaya Rosales, como lo indica el Acuerdo Tegucigalpa- San José.

This is a surprising turn of events given that earlier today press reports from Honduras said the Court would abstain from commenting, both because of pending appeals of the decree that removed Zelaya from office on June 28, and because
the high court should only issue opinions or verdicts respecting reforms or codes in effect in the legal framework of our country

el alto tribunal solo puede emitir opiniones o dictámenes cuanto a reformas o códigos vigentes en el marco jurídico de nuestro país
So how should we assess this possible movement on the part of the Supreme Court?

In a commentary published November 2 in La Tribuna, Edmundo Orellana called into question the inclusion in the Tegucigalpa/San Jose Accord of a call for an opinion from the Court, and his commentary supports the Supreme Court position against providing an opinion earlier today. In light of what has happened since, some of what he says seems ironic; but more important, consider his opinion as professor of law about the propriety of the Supreme Court ruling at all:

The Accord was finally signed. It was a triumph for Honduras and for the peace and harmony of the Hondurans.

Congratulations to the members of the Commission of Dialogue, they already offered their tribute to the homeland and, with that, assured a place of honor in national history.

There remains pending only the political decision to annul the Decree through which the President of the Republic, elected by the Honduran people, was unconstitutionally fired. The National Congress will be responsible for adopting this decision and with that it will repair the violation of the Constitution and the grave damage inferred to the political stability of the nation.

In the accord is incorporated an element that juridically it is impossible to comply. This concerns the proposal to consult the Supreme Court of Justice, before proceeding to annual the cited Decree. It cannot be fulfilled because the law will not permit it.

The Supreme Court of Justice, like all the Courts of the Republic, is prohibited from ruling on matters that eventually could be heard by itself. That is to say, it is prohibited to prejudice, in other words, to anticipate rulings about matters that could be submitted to its consideration. A question that goes directly to the application of the principle of legal security, by which is guaranteed, among other things, that the controversies submitted to judicial hearing will not be exposed to the prejudices or sentiments of the justices, who are obliged to decide objectively, after they hear and analyze with attachment to the law, the facts, the allegations and the respective evidence.

The decisions of the National Congress are susceptible to challenge in the Sala de lo Constitucional, for which the Decree by means of which might be rescinded that which contained the unconstitutional removal of President Zelaya, could be challenged before this Sala and, if it does not decide unanimously, could pass to a hearing by the full Supreme Court of Justice.

To solicit the Supreme Court of Justice an opinion about a matter that could be the object of a controversy whose decision could correspond to it, is to incite it to incur an infraction of that fundamental duty not to issue advance judgments about matters that could be submitted to its hearing, and to put the petitioner in the uncomfortable position of abetting, from which could derive responsibilities.

On the other hand, the topic is strictly political. The Supreme Court of Justice, as maximum Tribunal of Justice, vigilant that in the exercise of judgment no outside factor impinges in prejudice of judicial independence and of their objectivity in adopting decisions, should remain on the margin of the processes of decision whose motivations should be strictly political, to assure the confidence and credibility in the judicial system, fundamental pillar of the tranquility of the nation, of the democratic consolidation and of the fundamental values of the Republic.

Leave it to the justices to speak in sentences, which is the only form that they are permitted to express themselves on any topic. Do not obligate them to give opinions, to anticipate verdicts, because they will convert themselves into politicians, immersed in the whirlpool of partisan politics, exposed to the passions that in this atmosphere are unleashed and we will irreversibly damage the dignity of the Judicial Power.
Now it is the task of the National Congress to offer its tribute to the homeland, without excuses or sophistries. In this offering is situated the beginning of national reconciliation and that signifies for the National Congress honorable rectification and its recovery before the people and before history.

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