Following President Zelaya’s return to Honduras, NGOs urge the International Criminal Court (ICC) to undertake preventive measures

The Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España (APDHE) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urge Roberto Micheletti’s de facto government to withdraw and allow the reinstatement of the elected president. APDHE and FIDH condemn the fact that, once again, the de facto government has resorted to a curfew as a way to suppress civic mobilisation claiming reinstatement of democracy. Tomorrow the NGOs will submit a communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Through this communication, they will call for the ICC to investigate and punish those most responsible for the crime of persecution on political grounds, which has been perpetrated by those who led the coup d’Etat since 28 June 2009.

APDHE and FIDH will submit numerous testimonies to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor. Those testimonies highlight the generalised and systematic manner in which the highest de facto officials in Honduras have been committing serious human rights violations since the coup d’Etat . Those violations include thousands of arbitrary arrests, systematic persecution of independent press, extrajudicial killings, inhuman and degrading treatment, physical and psychological torture, death threats, unlawful deportation or expulsion, persecution of foreigners especially Nicaraguans, as well as persecution of civil servants, members of parliament, mayors, judges and prosecutors who have opposed the coup.

The communication also calls for the ICC to investigates mass media owners and religious officials who have made statements calling for political persecution against those who have supported a national constituent assembly or who have advocated for the return of President Zelaya.

According to its policy, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor must identify those who bear the highest responsibility for the crimes within ICC jurisdiction. In this regard, APDHE and FIDH consider that the following persons would be criminally liable:

Roberto Micheletti, de facto ruler and other members of his government; General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Military Chief of Joint Staff and other military commanders; Police Chief Salomón de Jesús Escoto Salinas and other law enforcement commanders; Billy Joya Améndola, Security Advisor for the de facto government and former soldier accused of serious human rights violations during the 80’s; Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilez, President of the Supreme Court of Justice; Luis Alberto Rubí Avila, Attorney General and other judges and prosecutors who have been trying to legitimise the coup through judicial actions and/or by failing to meet their constitutional or legal obligations, thereby becoming responsible for the crime of persecution on political grounds; José Alfredo Saavedra Paz, President of the National Assembly and other members of Parliament who promoted the coup and have encouraged political persecution of those who have opposed it.

APDHE and FIDH recall that the crime of persecution on political grounds, as a crime against humanity, falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC and that Honduras is a State party to the ICC Statute. They call upon the Office of the Prosecutor to take into account that the coup was led with the aim of preventing millions of Hondurans who advocated for a constitutional change, from exercising their political rights. They also call upon the ICC Prosecutor to take all measures within his power and authority to deter further commission of crimes and prevent the worsening of the situation in Honduras.

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