III.

POSITION OF THE PARTIES

A.

Position of the petitioners

5.
The petitioners allege that on the night of June 29, 2009, Vicky Hernández Castillo was
murdered in the city of San Pedro Sula; she was a transgender woman registered at birth as Johnny Emilson
Hernández. They allege that the crime took place in the context of raids carried out by the National Police during
the curfew imposed after the coup in the Honduras. They declare that according to the media, Vicky Hernández
Castillo’s body “was found with signs of strangulation and two gunshots –one in the eye and the other to the
head”.
6.
They also declare that on July 24, 2009, the IACHR requested information on the case, in the
framework of Article 41 of the American Convention. In reply, the Supreme Court of Justice gave information
about the “case of the death of Johnny Emilson Hernández Martínez, known as ‘Vicky Hernández Castillo,’
member of the LGTTB community, I.D. number 0501 1983 08333, Honduran, domiciled at the Barrio Sunsery
of San Pedro Sula, Cortés; aged 26. The cause of her death was strangulation; at present, this is under
investigation; so far, the motive of the crime is unknown, though the most likely hypothesis is that it was a
crime of passion, according to file 1057-2009”.
7.
As to the criminal investigations that have been advanced, the petitioners allege that the
authorities’ performance was not diligent enough to clarify the facts and identify the perpetrators. They declare
that the file shows that only 12 procedures were carried out, 4 of which are the formalities concerning the
removal of the body and the identification of the victim. In addition, they say that while the Prosecutor’s Office
did participate in the investigation from the date of the killing, it was only about two years later that the
Prosecutor proceeded to conduct the corresponding requirement of prosecution investigation. They mention
that in May 2011, the victim’s mother bore witness, which is the only witness statement in the investigation
procedure, and that a criminal record of the victim was included to the file. They declare that after said
procedures, the investigation was again inactive for two years until March 2013, when the Prosecutor
requested access to the photographic album and the map of the crime scene from Visual Inspections, and the
alleged victim’s record from the Migration Office. They allege that these requests were not complied with.
8.
Furthermore, the petitioners argue that basic procedures in the investigation were not put
into practice, for example, the autopsy of the victim’s body –requested by the Prosecutor for the first time in
March 2011 and left aside until October 2013, when it was requested for the second time. They allege that,
according to a report filed by the Regional Coordinator of Forensic Medicine, the Autopsy Report had been filed
to the Prosecution on June 13, 2013; however, by March 2015, said report was not in the case file yet. In this
regard, the petitioners allege that the forensic authorities refused to carry out the autopsy “under the excuse
that the victim was HIV-positive” and “did not want to carry out any investigative procedure, as they considered
that the victim was a ‘different’ person and with no rights, which amounts to discrimination based on sexual
preferences”.
9.
In light of the foregoing, the petitioners allege that seven years after the crime, the
perpetrators of the victim’s death have not been punished, which establishes an unwarranted delay in the
application of justice. Therefore, they believe that the exception set forth in Article 46.2 (c) of the Convention
is applicable concerning this petition.
10.
The petitioners moreover allege that the State violated Vicky Hernández Castillo’s right to life
since it did not prevent her murder, as the facts took place during the seizure of power in Honduras and the
situation was of high militarization. Taking into account the characteristics of the murder, the petitioners argue
that maybe it was an extrajudicial killing, since during the curfew “it was precisely officers of the security forces
the only ones who were allegedly allowed to be on the streets with complete impunity”.

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