Removal of Manuel Zelaya was legal

A report written by the Library of Congress concludes that the removal of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was legal and Constitutional.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Report Executive Summary:

The Supreme Court of Honduras has constitutional and statutory authority to hear cases against the President of the Republic and many other high officers of the State, to adjudicate and enforce judgments, and to request the assistance of the public forces to enforce its rulings. The Constitution no longer authorizes impeachment, but gives Congress the power to disapprove of the conduct of the President, to conduct special investigations on issues of national interest, and to interpret the Constitution. In the case against President Zelaya, the National Congress interpreted the power to disapprove of the conduct of the President to encompass the power to remove him from office, based on the results of a special, extensive investigation. The Constitution prohibits the expatriation of Honduran citizens.

The report answers the following questions:

I. What are the provisions, if any, in the Honduran Constitution for their Judicial Branch and the Legislative Branch (National Congress) to remove an elected President?

II. Did the Honduran Supreme Court have the authority under the Honduran Constitution to request that the military remove the resident because the National Congress, the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Ombudsman, and the Attorney General found an action of the President unconstitutional?

III. Did the Honduran National Congress properly approve Articles of Impeachment of the President as provided for by the Honduran Constitution?

IV. Did the Supreme Court follow up by holding a proper, constitutionally mandated trial of the President?

V. Was the removal of Honduran President Zelaya legal, in accordance with Honduran constitutional and statutory law?

More on this topic

Honduran Congress Rejects Zelaya's Restitution

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With 111 votes against and 14 in favor, Congress ruled out reinstating deposed president Manuel Zelaya.

The debate lasted over 9 hours, in which Congress members heard reports from the Supreme Court of Justice, the Public Ministry, the General Attorney and the Human Rights Commissioner.

Border Closing Declared Illegal

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Guatemala's highest court of law, the Constitutional Chamber, ruled in favor of the Chamber of Industries and Commerce.

On July, and by order of President Alvaro Colom, Guatemala closed its borders with Honduras. This action was deemed illegal by the supreme court, who warned Colom to 'refrain from doing similar actions', arguing that 'the only Guatemalan entity with the legal power to close the country's borders, for whatever reason, is the national Congress".

Honduran Congress to Decide on Zelaya's Return

October 2009

President Roberto Micheletti accepted the return to power of Manuel Zelaya, with the consent of Congress.

The signed agreement establishes that the National Congress must decide, after consulting with the Supreme Court of Justice, on "bringing back the Executive Power as it was before June 28, 2009".

Honduras: Congress Reaffirms Support For Elections

August 2009

Honduras National Congress issued a resolution backing up the Electoral Court on the November elections.

In the resolution, it is repeated that the Supreme Electoral Court is the only authority responsible for organizing, watching over and ensuring transparency, legitimacy and credibility of the electoral process.

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