Amsterdam & Partners LLP Retained by Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) to Advise on Agua Zarca Case


The following press release was distribution to media today:

WASHINGTON, DC 15 May 2018 – Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), the renewable energy firm responsible for the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras, has retained the international law firm of Amsterdam & Partners LLP to assist with issues relating to the Honduran government’s prosecution of two DESA executives accused of responsibility for the 2016 murder of high-profile activist Berta Cáceres.

“This was a reprehensible murder that demands accountability,” said Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP. “However, what the Honduran judicial system needs at this important historical juncture is not the kind of rush to judgment we have seen from, the media and the international NGO community, pointing the finger of “intellectual authorship” at DESA without considering any of the many possible alternatives. Rather, what is needed in these circumstances is a thorough, unbiased investigation and full compliance with international norms of criminal procedure, under which the accused is presumed innocent.”

According to Amsterdam, even a superficial review of the criminal proceedings in Honduras reveals numerous fundamental problems:

• the prosecution relies almost exclusively on its own interpretation of a few select text messages extracted from various cell phones seized by the police, but the government has yet to allow any independent forensic analysis of those devices for exculpatory evidence;

• the prosecution has shifted its focus away from investigating other potential perpetrators in favor of securing a conviction of DESA’s employees as the “intellectual authors” of the crime, yet the prosecution is withholding all potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense team – including any information the government may have about others with motive to kill Berta Cáceres – on the grounds that an ongoing investigation is still underway; and

• the criminal proceedings have been marred by procedural irregularities and indicia of improper motivations and biases, underscored perhaps most dramatically by the arrest of DESA’s president on the two-year anniversary of Berta Cáceres’ death

Amsterdam comments: “Let us be very clear: our law firm is committed to finding out the truth, educating the public about what really happened in this case and in this community, and shining a light on the rush to judgement that led to the accusations against our client.”

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