Experts: Urgent Need for Sentence in Berta Cáceres Case to Guarantee Justice for Victims
For immediate release
October 6, 2021
The Expert Observation Mission in the Berta Cáceres Case calls on the Sentencing Court to issue the sentence in accordance with the conviction handed down 3 months ago today against Roberto David Castillo Mejía for the murder of Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, defender of the rights of the Lenca People and the environment on March 2, 2016.
The landmark ruling confirmed that David Castillo played a decisive role as co-author of the murder of the Lenca leader and that he was part of a power structure of the company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), also responsible for the crime. Key actors of this structure have not yet been charged or prosecuted despite the fact that investigations have been open for more than 4 years. The ruling should prompt a due diligence investigation of all the perpetrators of this crime so that they are duly brought to justice.
In the same vein, the Mission recalls that the cassation appeals filed by those convicted in 2019 as perpetrators of Berta's murder, including an active military officer, middle managers of the hydroelectric company DESA and hitmen, have not yet been resolved by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, so the case remains without legal certainty.
This legal uncertainty jeopardizes due process and the victims' guarantees of dignified reparation and non-repetition, leaving them in a situation of vulnerability and without access to full justice.
The assassination of Berta Cáceres represents a wound not only for her family, the Civic Council of Popular Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) and the Indigenous communities of Río Blanco, but for the entire country and the international community. The lessons learned during these five years of judicial processes must serve to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and communities in defense of their territories.
The Honduran State must guarantee comprehensive justice and thus advance towards the construction of a society based on respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and human rights. The member organizations of the Expert Observation Mission in the Berta Cáceres Case will continue to accompany this demand for justice for Berta.
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Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH), Guatemala
Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI), Nicaragua
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, (CIPRODEH), Honduras
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR), Colombia
Estudio Arbizu & Gamarra, Peru
Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús en Honduras (ERIC-SJ), Honduras
Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos, Honduras
FIDH, en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, International
Fundación para la abogacia española, España
Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC-USA), USA
Impunity Watch, Guatemala
National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, USA
Observatorio Internacional de la Abogacía en Riesgo, Europa
Organización Mundial Contra la Torture (OMCT), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, International
Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad, Honduras
Protection International, Mesoamérica
Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA School of Law, USA