"On March 8, 1995, the Court “annulled the warrant of arrest issued”.Even though this decision was groundless, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation at that time stated in a subsequent statement (infra para. 63) that Juan Francisco López-Mejía confessed to have been coerced into rendering an incriminating statement; therefore, the arrest was declared without Merits. On March 23, 1995, the last of the 27 witness testimonies mentioned above was received from an Army Coronel, Mr. Amaya.One year later, on March 10, 1996, the Tela Bureau of Criminal Investigations filed a report on the case whereby it stated that “in the investigations of the instant case, various important interests will be affected and, in any case, the investigation officers assigned to the case are in serious danger.”", Extracts (paragraphs 57-58), Inter-american Court of Human Rights´s decision, Kawas Fernandez against Honduras, 2009, the first case related to the assassination of an environmental defender in the inter-american system, Blanca Jeannette Kawas Fernandez assassinated on February 6, 1995
"En los años anteriores de conflicto armado hubo muchos líderes que también sufrieron y fueron desaparecidos. Los que asesinaron a mi hijo pensaron que estábamos en esa época todavía, en la que un líder se levantaba a reclamar sus derechos y todos los demás se quedaban callados. Pero se equivocaron, porque yo no me voy a callar", Rodrigo Tot, leader Q’eqchi from Agua Caliente in Guatemala, interview to El País (Spain), article published on February 10, 2022
First COP (Conference of States Parties) of the Escazú Agreement (2018)
Nicolas Boeglin, Professor of Public International Law, Law Faculty, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
Its official name is "Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean" (see final the Acta Final of the ninth round of negotiations, held in March 2018 Costa Rica).
A Bureau that completed its task in Chile
This last document specifies that the Bureau of the Negotiating Committee will remain integrated until the first COP: this Bureau is composed of Chile and Costa Rica, as co-chairs, as well as Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
Adopted in March, and as co-chairs of the negotiations process, both Chile and Costa Rica celebrated the International Environment Day in June 2018, and stated in a joint Declaration (see full text) that:
"Both co-chairs invite all thirty-three governments in the region to sign this important treaty and contribute to a more comprehensive protection of the environment and the strengthening of human rights through its implementation. Likewise, they reiterate that the Escazú Agreement inaugurates, from the particularities of Latin America and the Caribbean, a new standard for the construction and consolidation of environmental democracy. Costa Rica and Chile firmly believe that the early entry into force of the Escazú Agreement will be an unequivocal sign of our region's vocation to make progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Objectives of Agenda 2030 and represents an important contribution to multilateralism".
A Bureau co-chaired by two States that four years after its adoption still have not ratified the Escazú Agreement and one of them signed it only last March 18? This is unfortunately the spectacle - somewhat peculiar - offered to the region and the world by Chile and Costa Rica. On Caribbean side, it must be added that Trinidad and Tobago has not (still) signed the text.
This regional instrument extremely innovative from different perspectives (Note 1) has been signed to date by 24 Latin American and Caribbean States, of the 33 belonging to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC): of these 24 States that have signed it, 12 have already ratified it, the last ones to do so being Argentina and Mexico (January 2021). Chile recently (March 2022) began its accession process to this regional treaty; Costa Rica continues to raise very valid questions (Note 2). To be clear, of the aforementioned Bureau, only Argentina, Mexico and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are States Parties to the Escazú Agreement.
To complete the picture of signatures, ratifications or future accessions, the following States are absent among signatories of this regional treaty: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Venezuela.
This meeting in the Chilean capital, attended by the 12 States that are already Parties to the Escazú Agreement (see official status of signatures and ratifications), coincided with the celebrations of International Mother Earth Day (April 22) and was accompanied by a list of side events (see official list) organised by academia and civil society that were extremely varied and very diverse: in a way, the Chilean capital was dressed in green and hope, and this after many years.
Photo of Berta Cáceres Flores, Honduran Lenca leader, assassinated on March 3, 2016, extracted from a GAIPE ("Grupo Asesor Internacional de Personas Expertas"): an international investigation group formed to clarify her assassination and in particular the political-corporate plot responsible for her death, which the Honduran State itself initially tried to cover up and disguise (see in this regard the report entitled "Represa de Violencia. El plan que asesinó a Berta Cáceres").