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Honduras president pardons military leaders, former president

[JURIST] Honduran President Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] on Wednesday granted amnesty to both former president Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and military leaders accused of participation in a June 2009 coup [JURIST report] against Zelaya. Making the decree during his inaugural address [Wall Street Journal report], Lobo said that it would allow the country to move past the conflict. He also said that he would appoint a special commission to investigate the circumstances of the coup, even though no prosecutions would result. Commentators suspect that Lobo may face trouble legitimizing his presidency [NYT report], though the US sent a delegation to his inauguration [press release] as a sign of support for the leader. Also Wednesday, Zelaya left the country to go into exile in the Dominican Republic.

The amnesty decree was approved by the Honduran National Congress [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the Honduran Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] exonerated six military leaders [JURIST report] accused of abuse of power for their alleged role in the coup. Last month, the Honduran Congress voted 111-14 not to reinstate [JURIST report] Zelaya. His ouster was the result of a judicial order [press release, in Spanish] that asserted that Zelaya had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report], contrary to a Supreme Court ruling. Zelaya, along with the UN, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the European Union, maintain that his removal was a coup.

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