You are here

Honduras 06/23/2021

Lic. Rolando Edgardo Argueta Pérez
President of the Supreme Court of Justice

Tegucigalpa, Honduras  


June 23, 2021


Dear Supreme Court President Argueta:  

We are hopeful that the trial of David Castillo, charged with the March 2, 2016 assassination of indigenous environmental defender Berta Cáceres, be free of political influence. Berta Cáceres was the co-founder of COPINH (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras). The trial of David Castillo is expected to conclude within the next two weeks.

David Castillo is a former military intelligence officer and chief executive officer of DESA (Desarrollos Enérgeticos S.A.). Prior to this current trial, on Nov. 29, 2018, five paid assassins and two former DESA executives were convicted of murdering Berta Cáceres. Three other ongoing prosecutions are related to fraud and abuse of power in the granting of the permits and contracts for the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project on the Río Gualcarque, a sacred ancestral waterway of the indigenous Lenca community in Intibucá Department.

Despite lobbying and public relations efforts intended to obscure the facts, the evidence indicating that David Castillo directly participated in the murder of Berta Cáceres is conclusive. Given the emblematic nature of, and international focus on this crime, holding both material and intellectual authors accountable is essential for progress in addressing impunity in Honduras and ensuring the protection of Hondurans who are active in organizing environmental and indigenous defense.

The extensive and detailed evidence submitted in this trial (and related prosecutions) demonstrates that David Castillo was part of a criminal structure that engaged in a range of crimes, including financial crimes and violence. Besides his trial for the murder of Berta Cáceres, David Castillo is also one of six people awaiting trial for corruption charges related to the construction of the Agua Zarca project. COPINH, whose membership includes indigenous Lenca farmers who organized (with the assistance of Berta Cáceres) to stop the hydroelectric project, has been unduly excluded from the legal process as victims.

We strongly urge that you

·        ensure that the judges overseeing the trial of David Castillo’s be able to make their decision without pressure from powerful actors interested in swaying the verdict and obscuring the truth about the intellectual authors of this crime

·        ensure that COPINH be permitted to be included in any future legal proceedings involving David Castillo and DESA, as is their right under Honduran law



Brian J. Stefan Szittai  and Christine Stonebraker-Martinez                       



Blanca Saraí Izaguirre Lozano, National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH) ~ via email
Lica. Karla Eugenia Cueva Aguilar, Secretary for Human Rights ~ via email
Oscar Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General ~ via email
Luis Suazo Barahona, Ambassador of Honduras to the US ~ via email and US mail
Joel Hernández, Rapporteur for Honduras, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email and US mail
Antonia Urrejola Noguera, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email and US mail
Isabel Albaladejo Escribano, Representative to Honduras of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) ~ via email
Coalición Contra La Impunidad Honduras ~ via email
COPINH: Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduas ~ via email
US Embassy in Honduras: Colleen Hoey, Chargé d’Affaires; Nate Rettenmayer, Political Officer ~ via email
US State Dept: Honduras Desk ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Gibbs, González, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan  ~ via email
19 JUN 2021_JASS_Honduras