Impunity continues in the Berta Cáceres case

AQUI in Español

Given recent news that the judge overseeing the judicial process of David Castillo, the only DESA executive charged for the murder of Berta Cáceres, has been transferred from the case, the daughters and son of Berta Cáceres, together with the legal team and the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), express the following:

  • The decision of the Supreme Court of Justice to remove Judge Lisseth Rosario Vallecillo Banegas raises strong concerns about the intentions of continued impunity for the intellectual authors of the crime, the Atala Zablah family.
  • Judge Vallecillo’s actions have accompanied and facilitated the dilatory tactics of David Castillo’s defense. As proof of this, nearly a year and four months have passed since the preliminary hearing started, a hearing that has yet to be concluded due to appeals and suspensions requested by the defense. Whatsmore, the Court’s decision comes just days before David Castillo’s pre trial detention period runs out and without the public trial still not taking place.
  • The judicial process has been unjustifiably delayed, which is the responsibility of the judiciary.
  • The delays presented in bad faith by the defense of David Castillo, the lawyers Sánchez Cantillano and Ritza Antunes, have created the conditions for manipulation in search of impunity in this process and with regard to the investigation of Daniel Atala Midence, Jose Atala Zablah, Jacobo Atala Zablah and Pedro Atala Zablah.
  • In the judicial and investigative process, the evidence, including chats, calls, text messages, photos, GPS locations, telephone tapping, among others, which clearly demonstrates the responsibility of David Castillo in the coordination with the hitmen who murdered Berta Cáceres and those who made the decision in the Atala Zablah family. The evidence is clear and conclusive.
  • David Castillo’s defence seeks to obstruct the conduct of the oral and public trial, and thus prevent this information from coming to light.
  • The change of judge breaks the principle of immediacy of the judicial process. This subjects the process to forms of manipulation and procedural trickery.
  • In terms of evidence, everything that points to criminal links is being manipulated by the defence, which raises absolute concerns about the process and the continuity of impunity.
  • The absence of justice at this point in time, in this case, and the uncertainty it generates, unquestionably imply the violation of the victims’ rights to truth and to comprehensive, prompt and expeditious justice.
  • Accompanied by the strength and dignity of our Berta and of many who have given their lives for this country, we once again reiterate our commitment to justice for our colleague and for the Honduran people. Today, more than ever, we need a trial and punishment for the murderers of our Berta, accomplices and part of those who today are getting rich by stealing the health and life of this people.

August 20, 2020.

Infraestructura y Desarrollo: CódigoSur