TEGUCIGALPA Dec 12 Honduran lawmakers on
Wednesday dismissed four Supreme Court judges who had declared
unconstitutional a law designed to purge the country's police of
corruption, deepening a conflict between the ruling party and
Lawmakers voted to oust the justices and name their
replacements after a panel of judges on Nov. 27 declared the law
that established confidence exams as unconstitutional in a 4-1
The law in question required officers to undertake lie
detector tests, drug screens and a probe of their personal
wealth to determine if they could remain in the police force.
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo on Saturday said the judges
were "against the purging of the police" and accused them of
acting "in collusion to attack institutions."
Last week, Lobo said there was a growing conspiracy against
him, aiming to remove him from office in coup similar to the
ouster of former President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009 that
plunged the country into a political crisis for months.
Led by lawmakers from Lobo's National Party, the country's
unicameral legislature voted 97-31 in the early hours of
Wednesday to remove the four judges from office.
The split ruling against the law by the five-member panel of
judges set the legislation up for a review of the full 15-seat
The head of the opposition Liberal Party, Alfredo Saavedra,
said the ouster of the judges was "a blow to democracy" and he
said their dismissal undermined the independence of the court.
The move was the latest development in an increasing dispute
between Lobo's party and the Supreme Court, which recently threw
out a tax on big companies and law designed to attract more
Officers who were fired after failing confidence exams had
filed complaints before the Supreme Court, arguing that the law
violated their rights to a fair defense and the presumption of
Lobo pushed for the confidence tests after a surge in
violence in the poor Central American country that followed an
expansion of Mexican drug cartels into Honduras.
According to the United Nations, Honduras has the highest
per capita homicide rate in the world, with 86 homicides for
every 100,000 inhabitants.