The case that Zelaya and his colleagues brought against Honduras before the Interamerican Human Rights Court is good news for Honduras. They accuse the “state of Honduras” to have committed a “coup d’état” on June 28, 2009. There are several reasons why this is good news:
- Zelaya has no case. His claim is baseless. The only complaint is that there is no due process in Honduras, but this is contradicted by the fact that two of the plaintiffs are in a process in Honduras at this very moment, and due process is observed.
- What Honduras has wanted more than anything since the UN General Assembly condemned the deposing of Zelaya last year as a “coup”, is to have an international judicial institution examine the legalities of the case, since that would provide independent third-party confirmation that it was a legal and constitutional succession. By bringing this case Zelaya has therefore done what Honduras couldn’t.
- The country has previously been reported to the International Criminal Court, ICC, but nothing has happened in that case, and most likely nothing will. This case is therefore a better chance for Honduras to defend its reputation as a democracy that respects the rule of law.
- Politically, this means that Zelaya has stabbed his benefactor president Pepe Lobo in the back. By letting the ex president leave the country, Lobo took a risk. When Zelaya continues to argue against the recognition of Lobo, and denouncing the country before international courts, it only serves to strengthen Lobo’s credibility within Honduras and make it easier for him to govern – while Zelaya becomes ever more irrelevant.
Next Tuesday the reply from Honduras to the commission investigating the case will be ready. The deadline for the reply is March 26.