Public statement concerning the arrest of Henry Javier Hernandez Rodriguez
January 15, 2017
The legal team representing the daughters, son and mother of Berta Caceres, as well as COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), since the arrest of Henry Javier Hernandez Rodriguez, declares:
a) Henry Javier Hernandez Rodriguez has been charged by the Honduran Public Prosecutor with the assassination of Berta Caceres and was issued an arrest warrant. According to the theory of the Public Prosecutor, Hernandez Rodriguez is a retired private in the Honduran military, and was a direct material author of the crime and is connected with two other soldiers who have been accused and imprisoned.
b) Mr. Douglas Geovanny Bustillo and Mariano Diaz Chavez, both with the officer rank of Major – Bustillo was retired and Chavez was active at the time of the assassination of Berta.
c) The criminal charge against Hernandez Rodriguez is not new. What we expect is progress in the investigation against the criminal structure, the intellectual authors that gave the order to execute the crime. We also continue to wait for criminal charges against senior government officials, and against the Honduran government, that had specific duties to protect the life of Berta Caceres and instead of protecting her, put her at greater risk.
d) We learned of the capture of Hernandez Rodriguez from the media! The Public Prosecutor has not made any attempts at communicating with us. We regret that this institution continues ignoring the rights of victims, maintaining an illegal and unjust secrecy.
e) A plea hearing has been scheduled on the 16th of January at 10am for Hernandez Rodriguez and on January 19th a preliminary hearing will be held for Sergio Ramon Rodriguez Orellana, Douglas Geovanny Bustillo, Atilio Edilson Duarte Meza, Mariano Diaz Chavez, Elvin Emerson Duarte and Heriberto Meza Rápalo Orellana. We will attend these hearings as Private Prosecutors, with the disadvantage of not knowing whether the Public Prosecutor has made any progress in the investigations into the facts of the case and the participation of the accused.
f) We advise the public that in the little bits of information we have learned of the investigation, serious inconsistencies and weaknesses in the Public Prosecutor’s approach to the case have become evident. These inconsistencies and weaknesses can interpreted as strategic actions to create impunity for the criminal structure, the intellectual authors that masterminded the crime against Berta Caceres.
We reaffirm our commitment to achieve comprehensive truth and justice of this crime. We will continue to demand that the state of secrecy surrounding the investigation be lifted for the victims and we demand that independent international experts be included in the current investigation.