- A federal judge issues a writ of amparo for the Trujillo Herrera family, who searches for their relatives without success since 2008.
- He orders the Mexican federal government to complete the procedure for accepting individual cases.
Mexico City, 28 January 2019. In recent days, Martín Adolfo Santos Pérez, Third District Judge of the Administrative Court in Mexico City, issued a writ of amparo in favor of María Herrera Magdaleno and Juan Carlos Trujillo Herrera, mother and brother of the disappeared victims Raúl, Salvador, Luis Armando, and Gustavo Trujillo Herrera. The order of the judge is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE, by its Spanish acronym) has to clarify its position, within 60 calendar days, on the recognition of the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) to receive individual cases. This would allow relatives of thousands of victims of enforced disappearance to bring their requests before this international body.
Although Mexico signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2008, the State has not recognized the jurisdiction of the Committee to receive individual cases. This deprived the relatives of the disappeared in Mexico of being able to have access to an important international guarantee.
Because this decision reduced the effectiveness of the Convention, victims’ relatives, the ombudsman system, legislators, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico, the CED itself, and even other countries over the course of the Universal Periodic Review urged Mexico on different occasions to allow the Committee to receive individual requests. However, during the administrations of Presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, the SRE refused to recognize the competence of the CED, adducing since 2010 that it was consulting other federal bodies in order to make a decision. Nine years later, said consultations were still taking place.
Faced with this situation, the Trujillo Herrera family, characterized by fighting not only for their disappeared relatives but also for all victims of this crime, and represented by Center Prodh, filed a petition for a writ of amparo on 13 March 2018 due to the refusal of the President of Mexico, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the General Director of Human Rights and Democracy of the subdivision of the SRE, to recognize the competence of the CED to receive and consider individual communications.
After a lengthy procedure, the order issued by the judge finally recognized the extreme severity of enforced disappearance and the alarming dimensions that this crime has reached in Mexico. From this perspective, the judge considered that, by failing to recognize the competence of the CED, the authorities violated the right of direct and indirect victims to approach an international body against enforced disappearance.
The decision of the Third District Judge of the Administrative Court in Mexico City emphasized that the recognition of the competence of the CED to receive individual cases can “help assess structural problems and even reverse impunity in cases of human rights violations, inasmuch as there is not any justifiable impediment to completing the procedure.”
By giving 60 days to the SRE to clarify its position, the writ of amparo issued in favor of the Trujillo Herrera family represents an opportunity, created once again by victims’ relatives, for the new administration to demonstrate its commitment to human rights protection. If the Mexican federal government recognizes it, the competence of the CED to receive individual cases will provide the tens of thousands of victims of enforced disappearance and their families with another instrument to search for truth and justice.