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Honduras: Berta Cáceres case sends message to powerful interests behind killings of defenders they can no longer rely on impunity
Author: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian (UK), Published on: 3 December 2018
"Berta Cáceres case: a warning for those who would kill activists", 30 Nov 2018
The sentencing on Thursday of seven men accused of murdering the Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres is only partial justice, but it should inspire anyone committed to ending the slaughter of... defenders around the globe. A court... handed down guilty verdicts on all but one of the eight accused, including two employees of the hydro-electric dam company... [Cáceres’s family] are convinced the masterminds are still at large... The trial has been tainted by highly dubious procedures... Senior politicians and powerful families who were involved in the construction of the dam have not been called to account... There has also been inadequate focus on the international financial institutions, [including]... FMO,... Finnfund... and... Cabei... Yet there has been progress of a sort. It is unlikely that anyone would have gone to prison without the huge domestic and international outcry that followed Cáceres’s murder. The vast majority of the 200-plus defender killings in the world each year go unpunished and uninvestigated. A trial of this prominence is almost unheard of and should make those in power think twice in the future about approving assassinations...Honduras has been one of the world’s deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders... But there has been a marked decrease in the past year. One reason may be that the powerful interests behind the killings have been given notice that they can no longer rely on impunity... This shows global public opinion can make a difference, particularly when focused through international institutions and NGOs.