HomeNewsBriefHigh Profile Honduras Murder Case File Stolen
BRIEF

High Profile Honduras Murder Case File Stolen

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 OCT 2016 BY STEVEN DUDLEY EN

In an incredible turn of events, the case file in the murder of Honduras' activist Berta Cáceres was apparently stolen, leaving the government and the international community searching for answers and the file itself.

Details of the theft were still emerging, but an initial account by El Heraldo said that it was taken on September 29, when an appellate court judge, who had taken the case file from her office to analyze it at home, was stopped by two vehicles and robbed of her own car.

The Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras - MACCIH) denounced the decision to remove the documents from the office as "irresponsible" and said it was trying to reconstruct the case file.   

"The theft of the judicial case file of Berta Cáceres is a criminal act and requires an energetic response by the Attorney General's Office and the courts to identify and punish those responsible," Juan Jiménez Mayor, the MACCIH spokesperson, was quoted as saying in an official press release September 30.

Supreme Court President Rolando Argueta sought to control the damage by stating to the press that the case file has been reconstructed in its entirety and that the case would proceed.

"We would like to restate to the people, to the international community, to those involved in this case, the victims, that, despite this incident involving the case file, there is no way that this case involving Berta Cáceres will be compromised, halted or remain in impunity," Argueta said.

InSight Crime Analysis

The theft of the case file is more than embarrassing, it is a devastating blow against a government that was trying to show that it was taking the utmost care to resolve a case, which could roil relations between the United States and Honduras.

Cáceres, an activist who along with several non-governmental organizations was opposing the development of hydroelectric dams in her country, was assassinated March 3. In May, the government captured four suspects, two of whom had direct connections to the company building a dam that Cáceres and her cohorts had been protesting.

Many believe that that case reaches higher into both the government and the company, and this new development will surely fuel conspiracy theories that the administration of Juan Orlando Hernández is trying to hide something.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

The United States has taken a public posture on this case, a rare move that signals how important it is to that government. And MACCIH, the newly installed Organization of American States' appendage to the Honduran judicial system, has made the case the centerpiece of its efforts to help end impunity in the country.

Mindful of this reality, Argueta said authorities would investigate the possibility that the theft of the case file was something more than a mistake.

"We have to analyze the case and determine if it happened because of negligence...or if the fact that [the judge] took the case file from the court to her house goes beyond negligence and represents a criminal act," Argueta said.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 NOV 2022

The trial of Genaro García Luna, Mexico's public security minister during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, is fast approaching.

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

In Copán – a major transit point for cocaine – drug trafficking groups collaborate with local authorities to smuggle narcotics over the department’s porous western border with Guatemala.

COCAINE / 15 JUL 2021

The murder of a prominent folk singer in Guatemala thrust a Nicaraguan nightclub owner into the spotlight and revealed an…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…