The General Coordinator of the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Cofadeh), Bertha Oliva revealed to defensoresenlinea.com that the decision taken by the National Congress to grant police powers to the military is an illegal, unconstitutional decision that opens the door for members of the Armed Forces to openly commit all types of human rights violations.
Oliva pointed out that the decision by members of Congress to approve the decree allowing the military to detain, capture, interrogate, and to enter homes without a warrant is illegal and unconstitutional. In fact, added the human rights defender, Cofadeh is preparing to study this new violation of the country’s Magna Carta and will consider presenting a claim of unconsitutionality to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) for an injunction against the application of the decree introduced by Congressman, Oswaldo Ramos Soto and approved by a large majority in the legislative chamber.
On Wednesday, November 30, the Honduran National Congress authorized the Armed Forces to carry out police actions, except in investigations. Beginning with the publication of the new law in the Official Daily Press, La Gaceta, the military can patrol, capture suspects, carry out raids and control transit, among other functions. After an ample debate about interpretations of the Constitution, 110 congress members voted in favor of the measure and only two abstentions were cast.
The president of the Congress, Juan Orlando Hernandez, stated that the timeframe for operations with these powers will be determined by the Government. The decree allows the period for these operations to be 6 months, after a declaration of "a state of emergency related to security" is declared by president Porfirio Lobo Sosa in the Ministerial Council. Bertha Oliva noted that this decree will permit those who in the past have operated with masks, using pseudonyms, to act publically with the approval of the current regime, to perpetrate more human rights violations. In other words, added Oliva, what they are doing is "legalizing the impunity of military actions against the citizenry".
The assasination last October of two university students, one of them the son of the rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, confirms that police officials are involved in kidnappings, extortion and other crimes. The security system commanded by the executive is flanked by powerful forces linked to organized crime, narcotics trafficking and raging corruption that has destroyed the credibility of the police in Honduras.
To grant police powers to the military is a regressive step in the maintenance of constitutional guarentees, it represents a return to the decade of the 80’s when military forces created the "deathsquads" and surveillance commandos that kidnapped, torture and disappeared hundreds of citizens from the Honduran social movements made up of intellectuals, artists, leaders of the workers, youth, teachers and human rights defenders in Honduras.
Experts classify these actions as being within the framework of the "Colombiazation Plan" in the region of Central America, a political project of the State Department of the United Stated together with the regional oligarchies to stop the advances of the progressive forces in the American continent. What Honduras is experiencing is a constant, progressive militarization that replants the leading role of the Armed Forces in the control of the power structures of this Central American nation and t leads to a somber future for the human rights defenders in the Republic of Honduras.