May 12, 2021

Ruling against eight accused for the murder of Berta Cáceres will be known tomorrow

Ruling against eight accused for the murder of Berta Cáceres will be known tomorrow

The ruling for the murder of Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres, in March 2016, will be known in Tegucigalpa tomorrow, without anyone knowing who the intellectual authors of the crime were, according to her relatives.

On the eve, the Public Prosecutor indicated that the "verdict" will be announced tomorrow at 4:00 pm local time (22:00 GMT).

Berta Cáceres was murdered on March 2, 2016 when she was sleeping at her home in the city of La Esperanza, department of Intibucá, in western Honduras.

Relatives of the environmentalist, who was also coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh), argue that Berta was killed for her opposition to a hydroelectric project by the company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA).

The defendants in the case are Sergio Rodríguez, environmental, social and communications manager of the DESA; Mariano Díaz and Douglas Bustillo, exoficiales of the Army of Honduras; Henry Hernández, Elvin Rápalo, Óscar Torres and the brothers Edilson and Emerzon Duarte.

One of the lawyers of the family of Berta Cáceres, Víctor Fernández, told Efe last Sunday that tomorrow they expect "a guilty verdict on seven of the eight accused."

He added that Emerzon Duarte should not be condemned, because in his case his only implication is because in his house, in the Caribbean city of La Ceiba, the pistol with which Berta Cáceres was murdered was found.

He also noted that "unfortunately due to the dynamics of the impunity of the justice system that make up the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Judicial Branch", some extremes were concealed that involve other persons who would be part of the intellectual authors of the crime.

Fernandez believes that "the relevant thing is that the trial of guilt" on the eight defendants "should pave the way to the real authors of the crime", in which "it has tried to protect the intellectual authors."

On the day of the crime, Berta Cáceres had the Mexican environmentalist and human rights defender Gustavo Castro as guest at her home, who was shot in the ear with a bullet wound.

The family of Berta Cáceres considers that the murder is associated with the opposition of the environmentalist to the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, in charge of the company DESA, whose executives have rejected any involvement of their staff in the case.

The Center for Justice and International Law (Cejil) warned last Saturday that for the Cáceres murder only the material authors will be condemned.

"This trial is going to give us a sentence, it will surely give us convicts, but the truth is that those who are going to be tried and punished are the material authors," the Cejil Incident official, Karina Sánchez, told Efe in Tegucigalpa. .

According to the Cejil, in the case there will be a second trial against David Castillo, the first imputed intellectual author, member of the board of directors and general manager of DESA, the company responsible for the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, which he opposed Berta Cáceres.

Castillo was arrested on March 2, two years after the murder of the Honduran environmentalist.


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