On August 25, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted: “We welcome the decision of the Constitutional Chamber of Honduras to reintegrate @COPINHHONDURAS as a victim in the ‘Fraud on the Gualcarque’.”
The trial will look at the irregularities in the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, including acts of corruption in which permits and licences were authorized as well as violations of the Indigenous right to free, prior and informed consent.
PBI-Honduras also quotes COPINH responding to the news of this court ruling: “The river told us we were going to succeed. It is a momentous victory; recognizes that human rights of these communities have been violated.”
This tweet from the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) further explains: “Supreme Court of Justice recognizes the condition of Victim of COPINH and Río Blanco in the case of Fraud on the Gualcarque.”
Paradigma also reports: “On the third day of the oral and public trial in the case against Roberto Aníbal Martínez Lozano, Roberto David Castillo Mejía, Carolina Lizeth Castillo Argueta, Luis Eduardo Espinoza Mejía, José Mario Carbajal Flores and Raúl Pineda Pineda, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) decided on an appeal for amparo in favour of COPINH, forcing the suspension of that trial.”
And HCH reports in an article titled Justice restores to COPINH the right to litigate in ‘Fraud on the Gualcarque’ case that “According to lawyer Victor Morales, this decision goes back to the point where the aforementioned parties were affected.”
COPINH further clarifies this by noting: “The ruling of the Constitutional Chamber obliges to suspend the ongoing trial and return the judicial process to the stage in which COPINH was illegally excluded by the Court of Anticorruption Appeals.”
Letters of support
Earlier this month, about 70 organizations highlighted in this letter that Honduran law establishes the right of civil societies to be recognized as victims requested that the Constitutional Chamber “resolve expeditiously and within the framework of legality” the amparo filed by COPINH on this matter in 2019.
One of the signatories to that letter is Lawyers Without Borders Canada.
The PBI-Colombia accompanied José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) also urged Honduran judicial authorities to recognize COPINH as a victim of the acts of corruption being prosecuted.
The amicus curiae letter from CCAJR, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Centre for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) and the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights (CIPRODEH) can be read here.
PBI-Honduras has accompanied COPINH since May 2016.
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