The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has condemned the State of Honduras for the murder of political activist Herminio Deras García.
Deras García was a teacher and leader of the Communist party in Honduras. He was assassinated on January 29, 1983 after being intercepted by members of the 3-16 battalion in the Las Flores neighbourhood of San Pedro Sula. One year and three months earlier, his home had been raided by members of the Honduran armed forces, who held Herminio Deras at gunpoint and threatened to kill him.
On October 3, the Inter-American Court determined that the State of Honduras violated the right to life, personal integrity, freedom of thought and expression, as well as the freedom of association and the political rights of Deras García.
Similarly, it concluded that relatives of Deras García “were the object of a deliberate attack through persecution, illegal detention, mistreatment and torture, raids on their homes and destruction of their property” over 30 years.
Trócaire partner Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), accompanied the family of Herminio Deras on this difficult path of searching for truth and comprehensive justice.
“The most significant achievement is that the family of Herminio has been able to be heard in an international court, something that was repeatedly denied in national legal spaces. In addition, his relatives were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and even charged and opened trials,” Bertha Oliva, coordinator of COFADEH said.
“This long accompaniment that was given to Herminio’s family highlights the importance of resistance, insistence, persistence and perseverance,” Oliva added.
The reparation measures include investigating, identifying, prosecuting and, where appropriate, punishing all those responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Deras García and all those responsible for the other human rights violations declared in the Judgment. The state of Honduras must also carry out a public act of acknowledgment of international responsibility in relation to the facts of this case.
It also includes the construction of a mausoleum in the tomb of Herminio Deras García; the design and execution of a national policy of historical memory; the creation and implementation of a policy for the preservation of archives and sites on human rights violations committed between the 1980s and the present. As well as the payment of the amounts established in the Judgment for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, costs and expenses.
Herminio Deras was one of over 200 forced disappearances in Honduras between 1980 and 1995, who are presumed to have been the victims of extrajudicial executions and whose families still await justice.