The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras – COPINH, communicates the following regarding the protection from prosecution ruling by the Constitutional Chamber in favor of 10 of the 16 men accused of corruption crimes in the “Fraud on the Gualcarque” case for illegally imposing the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project on the sacred Gualcarque River:
- We denounce that the decision to grant protection from prosecution for 10 of the accused in this case is contrary to the rights of the Lenca people affected by the illegal and illegitimate concession of their territories.
- We recognize the work of the Specialized Fiscal Unit Against Corruption Networks UFERCO, formerly UFECIC-MACCIH, for making advances in the fight against corruption, despite the lack of support from the highest authorities of the Public Ministry.
- We denounce the fact that the protection granted by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the recent decisions on cases of corruption show the fragility of the Honduran justice system’s ability to combat impunity for acts of corruption and serious human rights violations, as well as the manifested interest of the Honduran justice system in favor of impunity for corrupt officials,
- We demand that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice restore COPINH’s right to participate, according to the rights of crime victims, as a private prosecutor in the case of “Fraud on the Gualcarque” for the illegal imposition of the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project on the sacred Gualcarque River. This right has been denied to COPINH in order to favor the criminal networks to which members of the Atala Zablah family are a part, and which caused serious violations of the rights of the Lenca indigenous community of Río Blanco, including the murder of Berta Cáceres.
Because of the above:
- We demand that the State of Honduras respect the rights of the indigenous communities affected by corruption and that the legal prosecution for corruption continue against the 10 people who were illegally favored by the Supreme Court of Justice.
- We call on the Honduran people to mobilize against corruption and to guarantee that the corrupt pay for their crimes.
- We call on the international community to stop supporting a justice system that promotes impunity for corrupt people and human rights violators, and to reconfigure all cooperation agreements to include these issues.
“They have believed that impunity is eternal, they are wrong, the people know how to achieve justice”
Declared in the city of La Esperanza, on the 17th day of December, 2020