[JURIST] The Honduran National Congress on Wednesday voted to dismiss four justices of the country’s Supreme Court [official websites, in Spanish] for alleged abuse of their position. The dismissal of the judges came after the justices ruled last week [AP report] that a police reform bill supported by the congress and President Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] was unconstitutional. Lobo indicated earlier this week that he would seek approval of the law through a referendum despite the Supreme Court decision. It is unclear whether the removal of the justices by congress is constitutional.
Tension between the three branches of government in Honduras has risen recently, and Lobo has expressed concern that he may be forced out of office like his predecessor, who was removed during the 2009 military coup [JURIST report]. The Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared last June that the coup was unconstitutional [JURIST report] but stated that former president Manuel Zelaya was culpable when he ignored orders of the Supreme Court. Zelaya signed an agreement [JURIST report] in May 2011 allowing his return to the country after nearly two years in exile. Earlier that month a Honduran court dismissed the two remaining conspiracy charges [JURIST report] against Zelaya, clearing the way for his return to the country. In July 2010 a Honduran court dismissed abuse of power charges against Zelaya after his successor granted amnesty [JURIST reports] to Zelaya and those involved in his removal.