The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has found that the Honduran State failed to comply with its previous ruling to reinstate four judges dismissed after the coup in 2009. The Honduran government was forced to reinstate the judges; however, they failed to reinstate three of the judges, claiming that it was impossible to do so since all of the positions were filled.
Adán Guillermo López Lone, Luis Alonso Chévez de la Rocha and Ramón Enrique Barrios Maldonado were dismissed after they joined a demonstration against an attempted coup in 2009. In October 2015, the IACHR found Honduras guilty of violating the three judges’ freedom of expression, right of association, and judicial guarantees.
BHRC intervened in the case, calling on the IACHR to ensure that the government of Honduras reinstates the three judges. In their amicus brief, BHRC challenged the Honduran government’s position that reinstating the judges is impossible, and underlined that enforcing the judgment is essential to uphold principles of equal justice.
The IACHR agreed and found that the only appropriate remedy was to reinstate the judges. “The only reason that would justify the non-reinstatement is because the victims prefer compensation for non-reincorporation.”
The Honduran government must begin dialogue with the judges or their representatives to find appropriate vacancies for the judges. The government must submit a report to the IACHR by 25 August or the Court could send a delegation of the Executive Secretariat to Honduras.
BHRC Chairperson Kirsty Brimelow QC said:
“Maintaining judicial independence is a crucial pillar of democracy: ensuring the legitimacy and effectiveness of the judiciary is essential not only in Honduras, but in the context of an international judiciary.
The IACHR is upholding these principles of international law, but this counts for little without proper enforcement of remedies. States who wrongly dismiss judges in breach of Convention rights must know that the Court will restore those judges to their previous positions as part of the enforcement of judgments of the Court. BHRC supports dialogue to reinstate Judges Adán Guillermo López Lone, Luis Alonso Chévez de la Rocha and Ramón Enrique Barrios Maldonado but calls upon the Honduran government to finally respect the judgments of the IACHR. The deposed Judges must be reinstated as a matter of urgency. “
You can read BHRC’s intervention here.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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2. For more information on the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC), visit our website at https://www.barhumanrights.org.uk
3. The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) is the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales, working to protect the rights of advocates, judges and human rights defenders around the world. The BHRC is concerned with defending the rule of law and internationally recognised legal standards relating to human rights and the right to a fair trial. It is independent of the Bar Council.