We Demand a Just Trial for Berta Cáceres y el COPINH

The statement will be copied and sent in Spanish to the Court Judges, the Honduran President of Judicial Power, COPINH, and their subscribers.

Since 2 March 2016, we have been providing updates to our subscribers about the attempt of murder case rooted in the killing of Berta Cáceres and Gustavo Castro. The world has never been so attentive to a story such as this. Honduras has been in the international spotlight, observing the astounding violations against the victims’ rights throughout the process, as well as abusing its own procedural regulations.

The ways in which the prosecutors–Ingrid Figueroa, Melissa Aguilar, Javier Núñez, David Salgado, Roger Matus, Roberto Blen–have managed the case under the direction of the Attorney General, Oscar Chinchilla, have been marked with bad faith and even fraud. As a result, the judicial process has been hindered by the failure to complete detailed reports, obstructing due process, masking information, neglecting to carry out investigations, obstructing the analysis of evidence and expert reports, and avoiding, at all costs, analysing evidence of the raids that involve the DESA company as well as the Atala family.

Again and again, throughout the search for truth, the Public Ministry has neglected to present fundamental information and expert witnesses. Such a rule of conduct deserves an exemplary correction.

The Honduran government has also refused to create an Independent Commision that would provide an adequate investigation of law enforcement, and the consequences are now quite apparent.

On the other hand, the Trial Court judges responsible for resolving this first judicial process–Esther Carolina Flores, José Anaím Orellana and Delia Lizeth Villatoro–have refused to recognize COPINH as a victim when it is clear that this indigenous collective is a main actor in defense of human rights. Furthermore, they have not admitted the proposal of key witnesses that attest to the criminal involvement of DESA employees and refuse to provide live transmissions of the hearings and trial. Who are the unknown beneficiaries within the context of Berta’s murder?

We are also concerned about the discrimination and racism carried out by the Supreme Court of Justice authorities against the members of COPINH that attend the hearings to cry out for justice and exercise their right to know the truth, only to be mistreated. The participation and testimonies of the Lenca community, represented by COPINH, must be prioritized, understanding the importance of this process.

The Honduras state has the duty and the opportunity to show the world through this judicial process that it is possible to fight against impunity. That in Honduras, there exists an autonomous Rule of Law and a Judicial Power that, without ulterior motives, seeks justice, truth, and the preservation of Human Rights. Thus, we call out for this trial to clarify not only the facts from March 2nd, but also all the history and context from which the crime against Berta Cáceres–the general coordinator of COPINH and leader of the indigenous community, Lenca– was carried out. We hope that they follow through with this duty and pay forward any debt to the victims of this condemnable crime.