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Honduras: Expert Mission to Observe Trial for Murder of Berta Cáceres

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The Americas/Europe


April 6, 2021


In light of the upcoming trial of the Berta Cáceres Case, the Expert Observation Mission calls on the State of Honduras to guarantee the application of international standards and national norms that lead to truth, comprehensive justice and reparations in a case of global interest.


Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated on March 2, 2016. In addition to the defense of territory, she worked to assert the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as women's rights. As a result of her struggle and advocacy work, Berta Cáceres was the victim of numerous threats and campaigns of stigmatization, harassment and criminalization, which led the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant her precautionary measures during the seven years prior to her murder. Finally, Berta Cáceres was the victim of femicide for her human rights advocacy work and a Sentencing Court found 7 people guilty in 2018 for her murder. Today, the trial is scheduled to begin against Roberto David Castillo Mejía, a former employee of the National Electric Energy Company and former military intelligence officer who was serving as General Manager of DESA at the time of the murder of the prominent Lenca leader.


The murder of Berta Cáceres is part of an alarming pattern of violence faced by human rights defenders in Honduras. To address this situation, recommendation 104.81 issued before the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) expressly urges the State of Honduras to, "ensure the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of the alleged human rights violations that occurred during the 2009 coup d'état and of the intellectual and financial authors of the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres."


At a decisive moment for access to justice in this case, the State must ensure that the scope of the trial is not limited so that the truth behind her murder can be exposed and steps towards restorative justice are taken in her case. On numerous occasions the IACHR has identified the situation of structural impunity in Honduras; the Observation Mission is a timely effort to monitor whether the judicial process complies with international standards in this area.

The Observation Mission is comprised of nineteen international and national civil and human rights organizations and human rights defenders that observe the respect for due process guarantees, effective judicial protection and the right of access to justice for the victims of the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres. It has observed the entire case against Roberto David Castillo Mejía for the murder of Berta Cáceres and will observe the trial in its entirety, publishing daily reports on its website and social media networks.



Press Contact:

Expert Observation Mission

Email: obsbertacaceres@gmail.com

WhatsApp: +1902324252584



Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI), Nicaragua

Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH), Guatemala

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH), Honduras

Comisión Internacional de Juristas, Regional

Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (Cajar), Colombia

Estudio Arbizu & Gamarra SAC, Perú

Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos, Honduras

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC-sj), Honduras

FIDH, en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos

Fundación abogacía española, España

Fundación para el debido proceso (DPLF), Estados Unidos

Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC-USA), Estados Unidos

Impunity Watch, Guatemala

National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, Estados Unidos

Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad,

Protección International, Mesoamérica

Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA-Estados Unidos

Observatorio Internacional de la abogacía en riesgo, Europa

OMCT (Organización mundial contra la tortura), en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos


[1] United Nations General Assembly. Human Rights Council 46th session: Universal Periodic Review: Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Honduras, Released 16 December 2020. A/HRC/46/12. Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/SP/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/HNindex.aspx



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