PBI-Honduras accompanies COPINH as it demands justice in the murder of Indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres
On December 13, PBI-Honduras tweeted:
“Yesterday we accompanied COPINH in the mobilizations they carried out in front of the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court to demand justice for the murder of Berta Cáceres, Lenca indigenous leader and environmental defender, on March 2, 2016.”
And they added:
“From PBI we emphasize COPINH’s defense work for the rights of the indigenous and campesina communities of Honduras, for social justice, as well as its commitment against the impunity of the violent death of Berta Cáceres.”
On December 12, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) mobilized at the Supreme Court of Justice in Tegucigalpa to demand the confirmation of the sentences of the eight people who have been convicted of murdering COPINH co-founder Berta Caceres.
Caceres was murdered on March 2, 2016, due to her opposition to the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, promoted by the DESA company on the waters of the Gualcarque River, which are considered sacred by the Lenca people.
In December 2019, the seven material perpetrators of the crime, including former DESA executives and security members, former military and serving soldiers, were sentenced to prison terms of between 25 and 50 years.
In July 2021, David Castillo, former president of DESA and former Honduran military intelligence officer, was found guilty as a co-author of the murder of Berta Cáceres. After a year he was sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison.
Pressenza reports: “The two court cases are not yet closed and the sentences are not final, as the appeals to the Court of Cassation presented by the defense of the accused are still awaiting a decision by the criminal section of the Supreme Court of Justice.”
And FIDH also explains: “For more than a year and a half, and four years, respectively, there has been no final resolution on the appeals filed by the defense, leaving the victims without an effective guarantee of their rights.”
Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, the daughter of Berta and now the general coordinator of COPINH, says: “We demand that the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice issue and rule on the cassations [annulment/reversal] of the two trials that took place in these seven years and close this cycle for us as victims and from the point of view of justice, ensure the sentences that have already been achieved.”
Reporting on the protest, Criterio.hn notes: “They [COPINH] recalled that 2,841 days have passed since the crime, which they described as ‘a political femicide that highlights the urgent need for justice’ for those who defend territories from ‘extractive projects financed by international banks’ and that do not amount to development, but to the plundering of resources.”
Photo: Geovanny Canahuati/Criterio.hn.
PBI-Honduras has accompanied the Civil Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organisations in Honduras (COPINH) since May 2016.