La Esperanza, Intibucá, May 2, 2016.- Olivia, Berta, Laura and Salvador Zúniga Cáceres, the daughters and son of Berta Cáceres; her mother, Austra Bertha Flores; as well as the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) victims of the assisination of Berta Cáceres, received with surprise, this morning, the news about the arrest of those involved in the killing of Berta, by the Public Prosecutor and the Technical Agency of Criminal Investigation - ATIC.
We, the family and COPINH, along with the people of Honduras and the international community, demand justice and truth in the assassination of our dear Berta.
Since we have been excluded from the investigation since its inception, we have no way of verifying if these arrests are the product of exhaustive proceedings, nor do we know if this includes the intellectual authors at all levels. However, the news of the alleged involvement of military personnel both active and retired, linked with the DESA company, seems to demonstrate the involvement of state agents in the assassination, which must be investigated further. This is sufficient reason to suspend the hydroelectric Agua Zarca project, immediately and definitively.
We regret that the investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor have not been developed with our participation, nor have our voices been heard in this process. Today, two months after Berta’s murder, we remain re-victimized that we must learn from this type of news through the media rather than by the channels to which we are entitled by law.
The distrust that we still hold for the Office of the Public Prosecutor has been fostered by their less-than transparent actions as they continue to ignore us as victims. If the state really has conducted an investigation that is exhaustive, diligent, based on scientific evidence and which considers all possible responsible parties (both material and intellectual), they should now accept the participation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights so that a group of independent experts may analyze the proceedings up until now and decide whether they are in compliance with the highest international standards of due diligence.
If the Office of the Public Prosecutor and their investigative agency have done their job correctly, they should not fear that this Commission, which the IACHR has already made available, begin its investigation at once.
We seek truth and justice in the murder of our Berta. If this is achieved, we all win.
Olivia, Berta, Laura y Salvador Zúniga Cáceres, Austra Bertha Flores and the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). With the backing of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ).