Legal Team for Berta Caceres issues Alert

When will the abuse and impunity on the part of the Public Ministry and the Judicial power end in the case Berta Cáceres?  Do the intellectual authors of this crime have so much power that they can openly be subjected to the justice system and nothing happens?  

The legal team of the Broad Movement for Dignity (Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia – MADJ), the legal representative for the daughters, son and mother of Berta Cáceres, and for the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – COPINH) informs and reiterates its denunciation before the national and international public opinion, regarding the following:

1.      Since the commission of the crime against Berta Cáceres and Gustavo Castro, on March 2, 2016, we are party to an investigative and judicial process as a private prosecutor.  The team of attorneys that represents the victims has repeatedly and insistently requested access to the investigation of the crime.  We have contributed information and we have requested that actions be taken against: intellectual authors, companies, national and international banks that finance hydro- electric projects related to threats, harassment and the murder of Berta Cáceres, especially the DESA Company that is the beneficiary of the  Gualcarque River concession.

 2.     The Public Ministry and the courts of the republic deliberately and illegally continue to deny access to basic information regarding the investigation of the crime.  Since the initial hearing on May 6, 2016 and those that followed on different dates, we have requested the information that forms the basis for the opinion on the content and intervention of the personal telephones related to the crime.  The Court ordered that this information be provided however, as of this dates, the information has been denied. 

 3.     We have requested the Public Ministry, among other things, to provide us with the results of the analysis of the evidence found during the searches and inspections of the DESA Company offices and the homes of several of those charged.  We have also asked the Public Ministry to explain why various documents were not confiscated as well as other information that was found in the offices of the company related to the concession of the Gualcarque River.  We have also asked them to explain why they have limited our right to participate in the searches and to exercise the role that corresponds to us in these actions.  As of this date, we have received no response.

 4.     The preliminary hearing on April 19, 2017, at which various human rights organizations and representative of the diplomatic corps accredited in Honduras were present as observers, was suspended because the court and the Public Ministry recognized that they had not complied with the obligation to provide information to the victims so that their team of lawyers could support the charges against the accused.  The same court determined that on April 28, 2017 the information would be provided and that the preliminary hearing would continue on May 24th.  We have been diligent in offering to pay the costs for accessing the information (photocopies, transfer of instruments and equipment), however, as of this date, neither the court nor the Public Ministry has fulfilled their duty to provide the information.  Therefore, we denounce these delaying tactics that generate more impunity.

 5.     In this context of institutional abuse and impunity, we fulfill our duty to inform that we are impotent before the abuses of these institutions, re-victimized and increasingly alarmed at the enormous power of the economic-criminal groups that ordered the assassination of Berta Cáceres.  It would seem, that for now, there is no force capable of breaking the pact of institutional impunity that protects that intellectual authors of this crime.

 6.      Nevertheless, we reconfirm our commitment to exhaust all possible means to that those responsible for this crime do not remain unpunished.  We also commit to demand justice against the functionaries that today, in different ways, by action and by omission, attempt to guarantee impunity for the criminal structure that ordered the killing of Berta Cáceres.

 To the national and international community, we request active solidarity in the demand for justice for this crime.

No more impunity. Justice for Berta now.


May 2017