Honduras high court rejects OAS call to reinstate deposed president

[JURIST] The Honduras Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] has refused a Friday petition by Organization of American States (OAS) [official website] Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza [personal website] calling for the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile] as the country's head of state. Insulza met with Supreme Court President Jorge Alberto Rivera and three justices from the Constitutional Chamber of the court rather than with the appointed interim president Roberto Micheletti because the OAS does not officially recognized Micheletti's government. Rivera says there is an irreversible arrest warrant out for Zelaya should he return to the country. Also on Friday, Vice Minister of Honduran Foreign Affairs [official website] Martha Lorena Alvarado announced [transcript, in Spanish] on radio that Honduras is rescinding its OAS membership because the organization is trying "to impose unilateral unfair resolutions without allowing the legitimately elected constitutional government the chance to be heard, ... disrespectful of the principle of sovereignty." The OAS continues to support Zelaya and has called the withdrawal meaningless as it was effectuated by a government lacking official recognition. The Honduran bar association has expressed support [La Tribuna report, in Spanish] for Micheletti, reasoning that recent events are a "constitutional substitution" grounded in the law, and have called on the international community to give Hondurans the opportunity to present their position. Zelaya has announced that he will return to Honduras on Sunday accompanied by Chilean president Cristina Fernandez, Ecuadorean president Raul Correas and other Latin American leaders.

On Wednesday, the OAS gave Honduras 72 hours to reinstate Zelaya [OAS press release] or be suspended from the organization, which would result in a freeze in technical assistance and Interamerican Development Bank credits. Zelaya was detained and escorted [JURIST news report] from the presidential home by members of the Honduran military and transported to the airport in the early hours of Sunday morning, the scheduled day for a nationwide referendum on constitutional reform. Military leaders acted following a judicial order [Honduras Supreme Court press release] to remove Zelaya for breaking the law in carrying out the referendum despite a Supreme Court ruling against it.

 

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