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  • Caceres was assassinated on March 3, 2016, despite the protection measures ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

    Caceres was assassinated on March 3, 2016, despite the protection measures ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. | Photo: EFE

Published 6 March 2018

Despite the arrest of various members of the mining company accused of ordering Caceres' murder, activists claim that the state still refuses to arrest all the culprits.

Salvador Zuniga, the husband of late indigenous activist Berta Caceres, accused Honduran authorities of covering up the real culprits of Caceres' assassination two years ago, during a sit-in in front of the Public Ministry in Tegucigalpa on Friday.

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Zuniga, co-founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, told Prensa Rural that an international investigation carried out by an independent rights group found that the Public Ministry refuses to issue warrant arrests against the suspects despite growing evidence that they ordered the murder.

The investigation especially quotes a member of the family "Atala" belonging to the board of Desarollos Energeticos Sociedad Anonima (DESA) — the mining company in charge of the hydroelectric project Agua Zarca that Caceres and the COPINH were fighting against.

“There is even stronger evidence of his involvement (in a decision process leading to the murder) than against the people currently under arrest,” affirmed Zuniga while Roberto Castillo, head of DESA when Caceres was assassinated, had just been arrested by Honduran authorities and was being audited by prosecutors.

"However, the Public Ministry does not want to issue a warrant arrest against them because they belong to powerful groups and because the Ministry is covering up the people who really ordered the murder,”  he added, hinting that the government was really behind the Public Ministry's apathy.

He recalled that the investigation was marred by irregularities, including the loss of pieces of evidence, the falsification of facts —proved in court, and even policemen currently under arrest for having forged evidence.

According to the investigation, military officers from the First Battalion of Engineers were also involved in her murder, as well as the police's sub-commissioner. "And yet Washington still funds the police and the army that contributed to numerous human rights violations," lamented Zuniga.

On Saturday, the United Nations High Commissioner's Office urged Honduran authorities to deepen the investigation, insisting on the state's responsibility to investigate the case “exhaustively, independently, and promptly.”

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