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Honduras truth commission begins investigating 2009 coup

A Honduran truth and reconciliation commission on Tuesday began investigating the June 2009 coup [JURIST report] that removed Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] from power. The commission is tasked [LAHT report] with understanding what happened before, during, and after the coup and making recommendations for the future. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] has praised [statement] the creation of the commission as "an important first step toward reconciliation" in Honduras. The commission is also supported by the US government and the Organization of American States (OAS), which initially called for Zelaya's reinstatement [JURIST report]. Zelaya supporters, however, have rejected the commission as a farce [AP report], pledging not to cooperate with investigators. Chair of the five-member commission, former Guatemalan vice president Eduardo Stein, said he hopes to deliver a final report by January 2011.

Last January, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] granted amnesty to both Zelaya and military leaders accused of participation in the coup. Also in January, 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. In December, 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 Zelaya had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report], contrary to a Supreme Court ruling.

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