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3 Dec 2018

Honduras: Defender's Berta Cáceres' murder trial results in convictions - but politicians & masterminds escape justice

On 2 March 2016, the well-known Honduran human rights and environmental rights defender Berta Cáceres was killed in the town of La Esperanza, Honduras. The trial of those charged with her murder, which opened in September 2018, was monitored by an international group of lawyers and marked by allegations of negligence and cover-ups - but the verdict, reached on the 29th of November 2018, was clear: the killers were paid to shoot Cáceres, and the order came from executives at Desa, a company building an internationally backed hydroelectric project on a river considered sacred by the indigenous Lenca people. 

The most senior executive implicated - Roberto David Castillo, who was executive president of Desa at the time of the killing, is still awaiting trial. He and Desa denied any wrongdoing. Senior politicians and powerful families who were involved in the construction of the dam have not been called to account. Cáceres’s family and others also insist there has been inadequate focus on the international financial institutions who initially refused Cáceres’s request to stop providing loans to a dam that was opposed by local people.