* Representatives of families express concern before IACHR over government attacks on UN report
* Filtered messages prove the case is not limited to the municipal level
* Families ask IACHR to present their case report in Mexico
Mexico City, May 8, 2018. During the hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today, families of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students and their lawyers warned that the Mexican authorities seek to close the investigation into the case in the context of a probable change in the ruling party in the upcoming July elections.
“These men know that their corrupt government is on its way out and they’re afraid that the new government will want to investigate our case well. That’s why they want to close every line of investigation and pretend to be doing their job,” said Emiliano Navarrete, father of José Ángel Navarrete, who asked the Commission to present its next report on the case in Mexico.
The families’ legal representatives pointed to four warning signs of the government’s intention to close the case: the federal government’s rejection of a recent UN report that documented the use of torture to concoct the government’s official case hypothesis; filtering and distortion of messages from people implicated in the case – which were provided by the DEA to the Mexican government – in an attempt to cover up the role of state and federal officials; the failure of the Mexican Attorney General to back up newly presented charges; and the government’s refusal to follow expert recommendations related to psychosocial attention needed by the families.
Commissioner Ernesto Vargas emphasized that the IACHR understands that the lack of results 43 months after the disappearances is a source of great pain for the families, and ask the government for detailed information regarding advances in the agreed-upon work plan.
He also voiced concern over the government’s attacks on Jan Jarab, Mexico’s country representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and urged the government to take the findings of the UN report seriously. Commissioner Flávia Piovesan added her own doubts about the independence of the federal authorities in charge of investigating the use of torture and pointed out that the UN has expertise in this area.
The families’ lawyers urged respect for the UN’s work in Mexico and characterized the government’s written response to the UN report, published just hours before the IACHR hearing, as the type of response one would expect only from an authoritarian regime.
The victims’ representatives explained that the filtered messages, intercepted the night of September 26, 2014, show that after midnight, when, according to the confessions fabricated under torture by the government, the 43 students had supposedly been killed and their bodies incinerated, those implicated in the crimes still talked about having the students under their custody (alive). This information shows the transnational power and connections between authorities and the organized crime group that participated in the disappearances, going far beyond the municipal level, contradicting the government’s false version. Concretely, these links have been demonstrated at the level of the Federal Police and the army. This is why it is essential for Mexican authorities to take into account more than 60 pieces of evidence requested by lawyers.
Finally, the families and their lawyers denounced the continuing delays in attention to victims and that the federal government refuses to sign a declaration of intent to comply with expert recommendations in this area.
Joaquina Velázquez, another family member who participated in the hearing, asked the IACHR not to abandon the families in this context. The Commission announced that soon it will present its report on the work of the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for this case.