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

Press release
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Orlando Sierra/AFP

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." [1]

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

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  • Co-signatories

    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

  • Member organisations - Honduras
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