Honduras: Authorities must guarantee transparency in trial of man accused of plotting the murder of Berta Cáceres

Given the lack of publicity around this morning’s pre-trial hearing against David Castillo, the only person accused of masterminding the murder of the Lenca leader and environmental defender Berta Cáceres, Amnesty International reminds the Honduran authorities of their obligation to comply with due process.

Prior to the beginning of the oral and public debate, a hearing was scheduled on 22 October to examine the proceedings against David Castillo, the former manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), who was in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.

According to the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the organization that Berta Cáceres was general coordinator of, the broadcast of the hearing could not be accessed remotely due to the absence of a technician, thus limiting publicity and the transparency of the judicial process.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly asked the Honduran authorities to guarantee the rights to justice, truth and reparation of Berta Cáceres’ family and COPINH members. In light of the restrictions on courtroom access related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities must also take all appropriate measures to ensure that the trial is public and transparent through remote access,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has repeatedly asked the Honduran authorities to guarantee the rights to justice, truth and reparation of Berta Cáceres’ family and COPINH members
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“In a country like Honduras – where those who defend human rights related to territory and the environment are at constant risk of death, and where impunity is almost absolute – ensuring publicity around the trial, including the presence of journalists and observers, is fundamental for society as a whole to know the truth about what happened to Berta Cáceres. The trial must be transparent.”

The murder of Berta Cáceres four and a half years ago has moved Honduran and international society and remains one of the most emblematic crimes against human rights defenders. Amnesty International will be monitoring the respect of due process during the trial, as well as the progress of the investigation to identify everyone involved in the planning of the murder.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org