PBI-Honduras attends presentation of report on murder of Berta Cáceres
On September 7, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted in Spanish, “Last Wednesday [September 4] we attended the presentation of the report ‘Violence, corruption and impunity in the Honduran energy industry: A profile of David Castillo’, prepared by international organizations for the defence of human rights based in the United States and Brussels.”
The PBI-Honduras Facebook post adds, “The dossier reveals information about the connection with criminal activities of the former executive president of DESA and the only alleged intellectual author accused of the murder of the indigenous leader Lenca Berta Cáceres of Copinh Intibucá.”
The 45-page report can be read (in English) here. It was produced by the Due Process of Law Foundation, the Human Rights Commission of Guatemala, the International Platform against Impunity, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, and School of the Americas Watch.
A key finding of the report is that, “Evidence presented to Honduran courts by prosecutors suggests that Castillo participated in the murder of Berta Cáceres as an intellectual author, allegedly coordinating with, and presumably providing funds to, the material authors for the purpose of carrying out the murder. Castillo has been indicted for the murder and the case remains in the initial phase of prosecution; no other intellectual authors of the crime have been arrested.”
COPINH’s commentary on the report and their five demands can be read here.
The Guardian has reported, “In November 2018, seven men were convicted of carrying out the murder, which the court in Tegucigalpa ruled was ordered by executives of the Agua Zarca dam company Desa because of delays and financial losses linked to protests led by Cáceres.”
Telesur notes, “Among [the seven convicted] were two DESA employees — Sergio Rodriguez Orellana, community and environmental affairs manager at DESA and Douglas Geovanny Bustillo, a retired general hired by DESA as security director.”
On May 29, 2019, the International Federation for Human Rights posted, “Members of the Mission that observed the trial express their concern that the Tribunal has yet to deliver in writing the guilty sentence it announced six months ago, leading to legal uncertainty in the case.”
Furthermore, Vice has reported, “DESA owns the concession for 50 years, [Berta Cáceres’ daughter Bertha] Zúniga says, meaning the company has the exclusive right to work the land until 2059. ‘They have not given up and apparently have no intention of abandoning the project altogether.’”
The Guardian has also commented, “The 2009 coup … ushered in a pro-business government who sanctioned scores of renewable energy projects, mines, and biofuel plantations, in rural communities without consultation [including on Lenca territories].”
PBI-Honduras began providing accompaniment to COPINH in May 2016, just months after Cáceres was murdered.