The IACHR ruling is a Latin American milestone that will result in greater protection for LGBTIQ+ populations in Honduras.
By Dunia Orellana Translated by María Aguilar
Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In an unprecedented decision in the history of Honduras, the Honduran State was found guilty today of the extrajudicial execution of trans activist Vicky Hernández, which occurred on the night of June 28-29, 2009.
The crime occurred at the height of the curfew due to the coup d’état that overthrew former President Manuel Zelaya to install the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.
The ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Honduran State is a milestone in the history of justice in the country and of LGBTIQ+ populations in Latin America.
After twelve years of struggle by the family of Vicky Hernandez, a team of professionals led by Red Lésbica Cattrachas, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Watch and other Honduran organizations, this ruling, unprecedented in Honduran history, has been achieved.
The conviction against the Honduran State, and in favor of Vicky’s family, is an extraordinary event that will result in more protection for all trans, lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Honduras. It is also a precedent for any LGBTIQ+ person violated in Latin America due to discrimination.
Twelve years of fighting for Vicky
The IACHR Court’s decision against the State of Honduras is the culmination of twelve years of work by a team of lawyers and the family of Vicky Hernandez. The trans activist was 26 years old when she was murdered by state security forces, according to her lawyers’ pleadings.
The defense work culminated in two virtual hearings on Nov. 2020 before the IACHR Court with the participation of experts and witnesses from Honduras and the rest of the Americas.
Throughout the hearings, Vicky Hernández’s lawyers argued that the Honduran state security forces were responsible for her death, since during the curfew imposed by the coup d’état they were the only ones who could move freely through the streets of San Pedro Sula.
In addition, the defense argues that the State did not perform an autopsy on the corpse or hid it with the excuse that Vicky suffered from HIV-AIDS.
For Cattrachas coordinator, Indyra Mendoza, the important thing is to get “the Court to rule on the extrajudicial execution and to investigate the chain of command. Why? Because this makes us equal in the Honduran collective imaginary.”
Justice For All
With today’s guilty verdict against the State of Honduras, justice is achieved not only for Vicky’s death, since during the coup 14 trans women, 16 gay men and many more people were murdered, argues Cattrachas coordinator Indyra Mendoza.
This unprecedented sentence means more than justice in Vicky’s case. “This is the opening for them to see that no struggle is exclusive to one group of people,” Mendoza adds. “If the amnesty given in the coup d’état is eliminated, it would be a great LGTBI contribution to this country where the human rights of journalists, lawyers, defenders of indigenous territories, Garifunas and villagers are violated.”
It is a huge achievement for Vicky’s mother, Rosa Hernández, who has been demanding “justice for all” for eleven years. “They have to respect the rights of them for being trans and of them for being lesbians, because they are human. Why discriminate against them? There can’t be discrimination,” adds Rosa, 66 years old.
This brave woman has been at the forefront of the struggle to vindicate the memory of trans women from San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, for the past eleven years. With this sentence, her dream of justice is fulfilled.