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19 July 2018
An open letter to members of the European Parliament concerning the tragic death of
Berta Cáceres
Our firm represents Desarrollos Energéticos S.A (DESA), a company founded in 2009 to
construct a 22 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project in Río Blanco, Honduras. We wish to
respond to the letter of June 15, 2018, addressed to the Government of Honduras. We respect the
need for urgent action on behalf of human rights defenders, their families, and NGOs. However,
we strongly urge the members who signed this letter to reexamine its contents. Seeking justice for
the victim of violence should not lead to the stampeding of the human rights of those who may be
wrongfully charged with the murder.
Over the past several months, our firm has undertaken an investigation into the false
accusations and abusive conduct of some NGOs, numerous diplomatic missions in Honduras, and
others who have loudly demanded the Honduran state to take precipitous action against selected
individuals. These calls for action are often based on misleading claims and incomplete
information contained in a 2017 report by International Advisory Group of Experts (Grupo Asesor
Internacional de Personas Expertas, GAIPE), commissioned by Cáceres’ family and her
organization, COPINH.
To examine these issues, we have appointed Brian Greenspan, a highly respected Canadian
lawyer whose commitment to criminal justice and whose lack of a political agenda is
incontrovertible. His review of the less-than-independent GAIPE report should cause concern
immediately for all those for whom human rights and due process are more than political catch-
phrases.
The Greenspan Report highlights numerous problems with the GAIPE report’s
methodology and findings, including an absence of objectivity, drawing conclusions based on no
evidence and/or incomplete evidence, and a failure to adhere to many standards of the Lund-
London Guidelines for fact-finding reports. Greenspan writes, “The GAIPE Report appears to be
written in order to justify charges against DESA executives, not to dispassionately and objectively

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while we agree with the sentiment of your letter of June 15 concerning human rights and the need for accountability to protect activists in Honduras. which presents a much more complex picture of the reality in Honduras – a reality that is being ignored by the European Parliament. unfortunately. which is not a matter of emotion but rather in-depth investigation. and that COPINH has been locked in a long-running battle with other organizations who believe they have a more legitimate claim to representing Honduras’s indigenous population. Throughout our investigation. We attach to our letter a copy of Greenspan Report. have had a turbulent history of conflict with Ms. As this interference occurs even before the beginning of any form of judicial trial proceedings it is highly prejudicial. we have met with numerous victims of COPINH in Honduras and taken their video testimony. how families have been torn apart. Representatives of our team will seek to come to Brussels to brief concerned members regarding the results of our investigation into COPINH. In your capacity as representatives of the European Parliament. so that the European Parliament is not a further body to be instrumentalised in a highly sympathetic narrative that is unfortunately both cynical and flawed. COPINH’s militant opposition to a green energy project with life-changing benefits to surrounding communities only further calls into question COPINH’s claim to be acting on behalf of the local population.” The fact that OXFAM and Amnesty International – among other NGOs – have accused. Caceres’ organization. Therefore. and even children killed in confrontations with COPINH. you are exercising undue pressure on a foreign justice system – pressure that may come to violate the very human rights you seek to protect. We believe that the safety of NGOs and human rights defenders can only be buttressed by the enhancement of due process in Honduras. Numerous other local political and community figures. it is impossible to miss in your letter what appears to be a “dog whistle” – an attempt to communicate to the Honduran authorities your desire to see further prosecution against our client’s assets. individuals who may be wrongfully jailed says far more about their mission in Honduras and other Central American countries than it does about their professed commitment to rule of law. Yours very truly.determine the truth. their property seized. We have documented their armed attacks on the Agua Zarca project. crops destroyed. Finally. It is important for members of the European Parliament to understand that COPINH does not in fact “represent” the indigenous peoples of Honduras. rather than defended. businesses and organizations. Robert Amsterdam 2 . Any attempt to portray it as an independent fact-finding report is. mistaken and tragically misleading. we strongly urge caution.