The Honduran Supreme Court ruled today that the decree that allowed the creation of ‘private cities’, with their own laws and police, was unconstitutional.
The controversial decree voted in January 2011 and supported by President Porfirio Lobo was designed to allow these private cities or Special Development Regions (RED) to have their own law enforcement, tax system and even autonomy on monetary and immigration issues.
A lower court had already ruled the decree unconstitutional on 3rd October and the Supreme Court reinforced the decision after appeal. This latest decision is final and cannot be overturned.
The spokesman for the Supreme Court, Danilo Izaguirre, told The Associated Press that with 13 votes for and two against the highest judicial authority in the country had ruled that the decree would “privatise the Honduran state and make it disappear, transforming it into a large commercial corporation.”
The actual building and development of these cities had already been granted to the American investment group MGK. Octavio Sánchez, Lobo’s chief of cabinet, had defended the decree, declaring it was the chance to “create from scratch a region in Honduras where the best practices in terms of education, healthcare, justice and security could be implemented”.
Jari Dicson, a member of the Association of Jurists for the Rule of Law under whose name the legal procedure was initiated, said he was satisfied with the court’s decision.
“This has been a fight by independent lawyers and professionals who believe in the defence of the law, when we analysed the constitutional status of the RED we understood that no government can give any type of concession to anyone for them to put in place their own government, police and judges. “
This was the case of a state within a state and that’s illegal. Those who approved this project were betraying our homeland and accepting that the Honduran people are incapable of ruling their own country” stated Dicson.
Porfirio Lobo arrived in power in 2009 following a constitutional crisis in which democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown. Human rights activists have since then reported that the government violated human rights during and after the coup.