Leading Canadian lawyer Brian Greenspan finds serious violations of Honduran and International standards in criminal proceedings against DESA employees
WASHINGTON, DC 17 July 2018 – A new report by leading Canadian criminal lawyer Brian Greenspan (Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein, Toronto) discredits the 2017 report by GAIPE (Grupo Asesor Internacional de Personas Expertas) that blames Honduran renewable energy developer DESA (Desarrollos Energéticos S.A.) for the brutal murder of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres in March of 2016. The Greenspan Report also sheds light on serious and systematic violations of both Honduran and International standards of due process in the resulting criminal proceedings against two of DESA’s employees in Honduras.
“The GAIPE report almost singlehandedly shaped what we have all been reading about the Berta Cáceres murder for more than a year now,” says international lawyer Robert Amsterdam. “Based on that report, many NGOs, who, frankly, should know better, have been quick to prejudge the Cáceres case, but as the Greenspan Report makes clear, they have done so without credible evidence and with gross disregard for the legal rights of DESA’s employees.”
Mr. Amsterdam is Founding Partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP – a law firm specializing in international disputes – counsel to DESA. “We asked Mr. Greenspan, Canada’s top criminal lawyer, to review the GAIPE report and conduct his own independent investigation into the criminal proceedings in Honduras, and what he found was shocking,” Amsterdam says. “The Greenspan Report is clearly an alarm bell that should prompt a serious reexamination of the public’s assumptions about the case.”
According to the Greenspan Report, GAIPE – which was commissioned by the Cáceres family and by the political NGO COPINH (Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) – fundamentally failed to satisfy the international Lund-London fact-finding guidelines when it published its 2017 report. Among other shortcomings, the Greenspan Report identifies the absence of objectivity, the drawing of conclusions without evidence, and a pattern of bias that violates the defendants’ fair trial rights.
Greenspan notes that GAIPE’s most provocative allegations about DESA’s employees have no factual support at all. In terms of their main claims, the GAIPE authors fail to cite anything that “actually substantiates these allegations,” and instead base their conclusions on “text messages that are completely unrelated to the contents of these allegations.” Greenspan concludes that the GAIPE report “appears to be written in order to justify charges against DESA executives, not to dispassionately and objectively determine the truth. Any attempt to portray it as an independent fact-finding report is, unfortunately, mistaken and tragically misleading.”
As an international lawyer familiar with the issues, Mr. Amsterdam finds it shocking that the same NGOs that are meant to defend human rights would take positions that weaken human rights, failing to properly investigate the complete facts while appointing themselves judge and jury to seek the incarceration of people based on minimal to nonexistent evidence.
“This is a heinous crime which demands a truly independent and impartial process to deliver accountability, but the use of sophistry, innuendo, and dog whistle-like rhetoric by NGOs to suit their political goals is grotesque and unacceptable,” says Amsterdam.
Amsterdam & Partners LLP represents clients on significant matters in emerging markets on every continent on the globe. More information about Amsterdam & Partners LLP can be found at amsterdamandpartners.com.