Amnesty or Impunity, CPPEPH statement

Posted on February 25, 2010

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According to the concept of amnesty, it is defined by the “legal forgiveness that exempts its authors from responsibility of their crimes.” In Honduras, most are still crying their dead and to ask for their forgiveness or forget such crimes as well as the authors of such crimes is just an excuse to harbor the impunity of assassins who now enjoy their freedom shamelessly.

As the Committee of Political Prisoners, the Persecuted, and Exiled since the Coup in Honduras (CPPEP), we do not accept to be used as a pretense for Amnesty, since none of us, men and women, have committed any crimes and have been instead the victims of a corrupt legal system, owned as private property by the same group of people that directed the coup d´état against the state in our country.

By taking recourse on amnesty, we would be offending our fellow citizens, the victims of assassination and their families, since we would be legitimizing the impunity of the real offenders who have filled the homes of the most humble families in Honduras with death and mourning.

Bertha Oliva, executive director of the Committee of the Disappeared Families in Honduras (COFADEH) said that “amnesty is an act of impunity for those who took part in the coup and who have committed crimes against humanity since June 28.”

The InterAmerican Commission of Human Rights (CIDEH) said that the amnesty granted by the Honduran Congress goes against the obligation of the state to investigate human rights violations in the country and that an amnesty law cannot serve as justification for not initiating investigations or guarantee access to justice.

The Amnesty Law was issued on February 22 and will be granted by official decree or request, but recently the public attorney has manifested that “those who believe should receive amnesty must come to court to express regret for their crimes and request a final dismissal from the judge. In case of controversy, it´s up to the judge to concede such legal procedure.”

This can be meant to say that we must trust the criteria of public attorneys and judges who are part of the legal machinery that forced the State down, so we see this as nothing but a trap.

It also means that we must repent from expressing ourselves when this is a right. That we mus repent from walking, shouting, and fighting against the usurper regime, when Article 3 of the Constitution (the same document that has been used as an excuse to commit crimes) gives us that right and is therefore, the duty of all Honduran citizens to defend them.

We must ask ourselves if what the legal system is saying is that the delinquents who have beaten, illegally arrested, raped, hurt, and murdered hundreds of innocent people can just ask for forgiveness to avoid a criminal sentence they deserve.

The Amnesty law mentions that this does not include human rights violations. That means we must demand for the investigation and sanction of serious human rights violations that have left thousands of people detained, tortured and beaten, more than 50 people assassinated, more than 130 people politically persecuted through political trials, hundreds of exiled for political reasons, and hundreds threatened and spied upon by the repressive forces set up by this dictatorship.

We as victims, we are not asking for revenge; we demand justice and are doing whatever we can to put a stop to the violence against our citizens. In Honduras we are learning from the past and transforming the present so that our children, grandchildren, and future generations don´t have to live the injustice that prevails in our country.

That´s why as the CPPEP we want to manifest that the so called Amnesty cannot be the “beginning of reconciliation” as Porfirio Lobo declared during his inauguration speech, since as it is now established it only serves to prevent the explanation, sanction and prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations, leaving instead the delinquents and assassins in impunity and free to continue perpetrating these crimes.

In Honduras we are living under constant threat of violence but we will stand firm until we achieve justice for those who are the real victims under the current regime, a regime that pretends to cover up the real nature of repression through lies such as an Amnesty law.

Tegucigalpa, February 25, 2010

SOURCE: COMITÉ DE PRESOS, PERSEGUDOS Y EXILIADOS POLITICOS DEL GOLPE DE ESTADO EN HONDURAS (CPPEPH)