(Washington, DC) – Honduras has failed to bring to justice those responsible for the serious human rights violations committed in the aftermath of the June 2009 coup d’etat, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch filed an expert declaration before a US court on November 2, 2011, in a case against Roberto Micheletti, the de facto president following the coup. The declaration cites a lack of cooperation by security forces and a compromised judiciary as key obstacles that human rights prosecutors face in their efforts to achieve accountability.
In June 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint against Micheletti on behalf of the parents of Isis Obed Murillo, a teenager who was shot and killed by members of the Honduran military in July 2009 during a demonstration against the coup. Micheletti asked the court to dismiss the case. On November 2, the Center for Constitutional Rights opposed Micheletti’s motion and presented the expert declaration by Human Rights Watch about impunity for post-coup abuses.
“Victims of human rights abuses committed after the coup have been unable to find justice in the Honduran judicial system,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The expert declaration was filed in an effort to get redress for the family of Isis Obed Murillo, one of the many victims of serious abuses that took place in the wake of the coup.”
The civil action filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights is pending before a United States District Court in the Southern District of Texas.
On June 28, 2009, members of the Honduran military arrested the democratically elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, and flew him out of the country. Micheletti, the president of Congress, took over the interim presidency of the country the same day and remained in power until January 2010.
International human rights bodies have documented serious abuses during the de facto government, including a disproportionate use of force against demonstrators that led to several deaths, scores of injuries, and thousands of arbitrary detentions. In addition, military and police forces arbitrarily closed media outlets in the aftermath of the coup. No one has been held criminally responsible for any of the human rights violations committed under the de facto government in 2009.
To read the expert declaration, please visit: