- A Federal Judge considers that the internal control investigation of the Attorney General’s Office was neither exhaustive nor congruent, as it did not address several irregularities.
- The judge orders a new investigation into all the irregularities committed in the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case.
Mexico City, 13 January 2019. The writ of amparo 195/2017 issued by the Third District Administrative Court in Mexico City set aside the decision of the Internal Oversight Office of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR, by its Spanish acronym), which classified as minor offenses the irregularities committed by different officials of the PGR during the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case, absolving many of them.
The order of the judge is that a new, exhaustive decision be issued, which shall rule, among other matters, on the potential “criminal nature” of some acts committed by officials of the PGR.
It should be recalled that the Internal Oversight Office of the PGR initiated an internal control investigation after the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) made known the major irregularities in the proceedings that took place at the San Juan River, where bone remains later identified as being of the student Alexander Mora Venancio were found, according to reports.
This internal control investigation did not come to fruition, as the head of the Internal Oversight Office was dismissed. Later, said official revealed that he was coerced into reducing the scope of his decision. In this context, the new head of the Office issued another decision, which reduced officials’ liability. Faced with this decision, the families of the disappeared students filed an indirect amparo, citing the violation of their rights to truth and access to justice.
It is important to remember that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (OHCHR) had indicated that, although the investigation of the Internal Oversight Office was at first following the highest international standards on human rights, a “regrettable” turn had undermined the opportunity to actually assess the gross violations committed throughout the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case.
Having these events as a background, the order granting the writ of amparo to the families of the disappeared students was published on December 12, 2018. The families were recently notified of this decision. The order recognized the legal interest of indirect victims in this kind of procedure due to its impact on the right to truth, setting a positive precedent. In addition, the order deemed the decision of the Internal Oversight Office as non-exhaustive and incongruent, and stated that it failed to rule on the potential criminal nature that the actions reported could have implied on account of their severity. Consequently, the Internal Oversight Office of the PGR shall issue a new decision that amends the faults and omissions committed.
To the families of the disappeared students, this order represents an opportunity for the new federal government to do a comprehensive and exhaustive reassessment of the performance of the officials involved in the irregular investigation of the Ayotzinapa case, unfettered by previous limitations.
In this regard, the order arrives at the right time, when the Presidential Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa Case is about to be set up, as it can play a key role in breaking the impunity pacts that have hindered access to truth.
Narce Santibañez Alejandre
Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center
04455 8531 2218