Honduras: Five years after the murder of Berta Cáceres, indigenous and environmental defender, David Castillo, former executive of DESA, is found guilty of being a co-conspirator to the crime
Five years after the murder of Berta Cáceres, environment and indigenous defender, Honduran court found David Castillo, former executive of Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), guilty of being a collaborator in the crime. Berta was killed in her home in the town of La Esperanza after leading opposition to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project, which would have built a dam on the Gualcarque River on the ancestral lands of her Lenca people. The Lenca people state that the project would cause major disruptions to their water, medicine and food supply and that DESA did not consulted the indigenous groups that would be affected. Seven men had already been convicted for their role in Cáceres's killing and were sentenced to lengthy jail terms. David Castillo will be sentenced in August 2021. OHCHR welcomed the historic ruling and called for the "continuation of the investigations and the punishment of all those responsible". Local and international organisations, such as the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and Amnesty International, praised the conviction of David Castillo for the crime and highlighted the importance of the decision to end impunity for crimes against human rights defenders. The organization InSight Crime pointed out that "Berta Cáceres’ murder was part of a much broader criminal conspiracy" and that David Castillo is a key figure connecting the material authors of the murder to other businessmen, military officers and public officials who have yet to be prosecuted.