Center Prodh

The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center

The military chain of command must be investigated in Tlatlaya: Center Prodh

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  • Witness and victim Julia demands justice and security.
  • Center Prodh’s report reveals unconstitutional military orders that encourage grave human rights violations.
  • Civil society organizations support the report and demand that there be an investigation into the responsibility of military commanders.

 

Mexico City, July 2, 2015. Marking the first anniversary of the Tlatlaya massacre, the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Center Prodh) presented the report, “One year after Tlatlaya: The Order was to Kill,” which exposed major obstacles to obtaining truth, justice, and reparations in the case. The presentation included the testimony of the witness and survivor “Julia”, who at all times called for justice and security for herself and her family.

The report contains five sections: first, Incomplete justice, absence of truth, which relates the reasons preventing the resolution of the case, such as the significant discrepancies in the number of executed victims which exist in the government’s versions; second, Obligation to investigate the army’s institutional responsibility, where documented evidence proves the existence of military orders that led to serious human rights violations in Tlatlaya; third, Improper use of military jurisdiction, which shows how Tlatlaya evidenced the scope and limits of the recent reform to the Code of Military Justice; fourth, Revictimization, which refers to the lack of dignified treatment for victims; and, fifth, a section of Recommendations, in which Center Prodh proposes measures to reverse impunity and create real guarantees of non-repetition of these facts.

The report confirms once again the profound human rights crisis that exists in Mexico, since it documents unconstitutional military orders including the Command Designation Order of the Lieutenant involved in the events in which the 102nd Infantry Battalion of Military Zone 22, instructed a few weeks before the massacre: “Troops should operate massively at night and reduce activities during the day, in order to kill criminals in the darkness of the night.”

This order—legally obtained through our representation of Julia in constitutional challenges against the opacity of the ongoing military trial—points to the urgent need for an investigation into the responsibility of commanding officers in the chain of command, which would mark a first in Mexican history.

During the report launch, Julia noted how the lack of full clarification of the facts and the government’s irresponsible public statements concerning supposed reparations measures caused her to speak out publicly in the context of this first anniversary in order to demand justice and security. She honored the memory of her 15-year-old daughter Erika, killed in Tlatlaya, who has not been considered a victim by the government despite the signs that the scene of the crime was manipulated to cover up an execution. Julia also stated that the government’s act of publicly and falsely broadcasting that she has received millions in reparations has placed her in imminent danger, and that she holds the federal government responsible for any attack against her.

Against this background, Center Prodh presented eleven specific recommendations in order to guarantee justice and truth in Tlatlaya, among which we highlight: create a new Commission of Inquiry in which independent experts will participate under the Minnesota Protocol; bring new charges that include all the victims of execution in the Tlatlaya case; interrogate (in civilian jurisdiction) all military commanders who may be responsible as superiors in the chain of command; suspend all orders that instruct troops to “kill criminals;” make public the records associated with the case; and, finally, repair the damage done to Julia from a holistic perspective, avoiding placing her at additional risk.

Additionally, case information has been sent to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The presentation of the report was accompanied by Amnesty International; Article 19; the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Center for Human Rights; the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights; Fundar Center for Analysis and Research; the Mexican Institute for Human Rights and Democracy; and the Institute for Security and Democracy. The representatives of those civilian organizations supported the main findings and conclusions of the report, agreeing that it confirms the truth of allegations made in the recent years. In that regard, they emphasized that the call to investigate the institutional responsibility of the army is now a priority of the human rights movement as a whole. They also joined the call for security for Julia, her family and their representatives.

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