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Truth Commission Addresses Honduras Crisis

Ousted former President Manuel Zelaya, second from right, waves to supporters during a welcoming rally in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (file)

Honduras continues to move forward from the political crisis that gripped it for almost two years.

With the peaceful return of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to his country, the Central American nation continues to move forward from the political crisis that gripped it for almost two years. A special commission established to look into the events surrounding Mr. Zelaya's removal from office has released its findings, and it is hoped that the report will contribute further toward national reconciliation.

The crisis was triggered in 2009 when Zelaya was forced from office and exiled in a dispute over a poll to ascertain popular interest in having a constituent assembly convened to reform the constitution. His political opponents said holding the assembly was aimed at allowing him to run for re-election, which was barred by the constitution. The referendum was deemed illegal by the Supreme Court and Honduran Congress, but Mr. Zelaya pressed ahead anyway and was subsequently forced onto an airplane and escorted out of the country.

Pursuant to accords under the auspices of the Organization of American States, last year a Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to clarify the circumstances relating to the coup and to make findings and recommendations. The commission released its findings and termed Zelaya's removal as illegal, and therefore not a constitutional succession as his critics contended. But the report also found that the former president broke the law when he disregarded the Supreme Court's ruling, and therefore Mr. Zelaya also bore part of the responsibility for the crisis.

Chaired by a former vice-president of Guatemala, the Truth Commission exhibited a high degree of objectivity and independence with its investigation of the crisis and its aftermath. It issued 88 recommendations, including the removal of the armed forces from any political role. The Truth Commission's report merits further review by all Hondurans in their efforts to achieve reconciliations and the reforms necessary for strengthening their country's democratic institutions and respect for human rights.