Elections in Honduras: militarisation and serious attempt to the Judiciary

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On the eve of presidential elections, in a report published yesterday, our organisations denounced the militarisation and the political violence. 39 killings and 6 attempts on political oponents’ lives, in their majority from the Libre party have been recorded by FIDH fact-finding mission in Honduras, undertaken in September.

Denounced by FIDH since the 2009 Coup, the political violence has worsened ahead of the elections, in a worrying context of militarisation. Of particular concern are the creation in 2013 of military polices, namely the Interinstitutional Security Strategy, known as TIGRES, and the Law of Public Order Military Police (PMOP).

For these reasons, the FIDH mission expressed its concern to the Electoral Supreme Court regarding the militarisation of the electoral process. Indeed, in addition to those legal provisions, the Armed Forces are in charge of looking after and transporting the ballot boxes. This function of the Armed Forces has been worsened by the creation of the Military Police, in spite of the specific recomendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that established the elimination of any political mission for them, as well as the prohibition to assign them policing functions.

“We call for the guarantee of free and transparent elections, and we urge the future Honduran authorities to abrogate the legal provisions that create the military police”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

As this violence continues to devastate Honduras four years after the coup, impunity persists, in particular because of the lack of investigations. The absence of independence and impartiality of the judiciary, as well as the interference of the Executive in justice affairs are also a great cause for concern. This was illustrated in December 2012 by the illegal destitution of four Supreme Court of Justice Judges and the irregularities in the appointment of the General Attorney and the Deputy Attorney, as well as in the appointment of the Judiciary Council members.

“We reiterate our demand for diligent and rapid investigations on the serious human rights abuses committed against political opponents, human rights defenders and journalists. Those most responsible have to be judged and condemned”, declared Bertha Oliva, General Coordinator of COFADEH.

“It is essential to strenghten the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office for Human Rights, to provide it with the adequate human and financial resources, and to ensure full transparency in the appointment of the highest justice administration authorities and the members of the Judiciary Council”, added Wilfredo Méndez, Coordinator of CIPRODEH.

FIDH, COFADEH and CIPRODEH also urge the Honduran authorities to set a date for the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and in the framework of the preliminary examination on Honduras, they ask the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor to visit the country in order to evaluate the necessity of opening an investigation.

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