November 15, 2012, New York, Paris and The Hague – Today, two leading human rights organizations submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, including expert testimony, periodic compilations of crimes against humanity committed in the last year, and evidence showing there has been no accountability so far for the crimes in Honduras since the 2009 coup. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) made the submission.
Said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney Pam Spees, “Hondurans have been courageously doing all that they can to ensure accountability in the face of such violent political persecution, and many have paid an awful price. The evidence we submitted today shows not only that they cannot find justice in their own country for the killings and other abuses committed after the coup, but that they risk their lives in doing so, which is why it is imperative that the ICC take up the case."
Since the coup, hundreds of people, including journalists, trade unionists, land activists and human rights lawyers have been killed or disappeared, most recently, Antonio Trejo Cabrero, a lawyer representing peasant cooperatives, on September 23rd, and Manuel Eduardo Díaz Mazariegos, a special prosecutor for human rights, on September 24th.
Documents obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights testify to the impunity of a leading human rights abuser in his home country, which speaks significantly to the question of jurisdiction since the ICC is considered a court of last resort. Some of the evidence submitted was obtained in the course of litigating a human rights case in the U.S. on behalf of the parents of Isis Murillo, a youth killed by the Honduran military at a peaceful demonstration shortly after the June 28, 2009 military coup. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the case on June 23, 2011 against Honduran coup leader Roberto Micheletti Baín, the former head of the de facto government immediately following the coup.
CCR attorneys received affidavits from Honduran officials including the Office of the Prosecutor and Jose Alfredo Saavedra, who succeeded Micheletti as President of the Honduran National Congress after the coup, certifying that Micheletti has not been identified as responsible for Murillo’s death, despite the fact that even the de facto government’s own Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that he bore command responsibility for Murillo’s killing, and others, as he had control over the army and evidence shows that he ensured there would be no cooperation with investigators.
The ICC submission also names Miguel Facussé as a suspect in the ongoing political persecution in the Bajo Aguán region. Facussé owns the palm oil company Dinant Corporation, and claims to own thousands of hectares of land in Bajo Aguán, though his title to some of those lands was successfully challenged by three campesino cooperatives represented by human rights lawyer Antonio Trejo in the months before Trejo was killed.
Read the ICC submission here.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org. Follow @theCCR.
FIDH is an international NGO defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation. Founded in 1922, FIDH is composed of 164 member organizations. Visit www.fidh.org.