Mexico City, March 15, 2019. On Friday, March 8, a federal judge ordered the release of 21 detainees, including 8 police officers, accused of organized crime for the Tierra Blanca case, which took place on January 11, 2016, when 5 young Mexicans were disappeared and subsequently executed in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, by state police officers in collusion with organized crime.
We fear that this development could contribute to impunity. Hence, we call on prosecutorial authorities to commit themselves to conducting appropriate investigations with due diligence, guaranteeing solid legal proceedings that lead to the punishment of the perpetrators. Particularly, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR, by its Spanish acronym) must ensure that the collusion between members of organized crime and state authorities that led to the commission of organized crime offenses in the Tierra Blanca case will not go unpunished.
One of the main measures of reparation included both in Recommendation 5VG/2017 of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, by its Spanish acronym) and in the report on comprehensive reparation of the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV, by its Spanish acronym) is access to justice. These documents also emphasize that the legal proceedings initiated for enforced disappearance as well as for organized crime should have been sustained until the respective sentences were imposed; therefore, said bodies will monitor the proceedings carried out by legal institutions.
We recall that the detainees are facing proceedings for enforced disappearance in the criminal justice system of the state of Veracruz as well. We ask state prosecutorial authorities to ensure that they will sustain said proceedings, that they will coordinate with the FGR, and that the investigations will be backed by appropriate evidence in order to guarantee the respective sentences, preventing the current situation concerning federal proceedings from repeating itself. The decision of the federal judge is a call for legal institutions to do appropriate work; otherwise, they will be contributing to impunity in the paradigmatic Tierra Blanca case.
We recall that, on March 4, an act of recognition of responsibility and public apology to the families of the 5 young disappeared Mexicans took place. On that occasion, the government of the state of Veracruz emphasized the pending actions to achieve justice and undertook relevant commitments on the supervision of the criminal proceedings against the detainees. In this respect, the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration said: “An act like this is meaningful as long as the search for justice complements it. (…) For this reason, we commit ourselves, with due respect for the autonomy of the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico, to collaborate in the pending federal investigations both into organized crime and into violations of the Law of the National Security System (…).”
The Governor of the state of Veracruz affirmed: “We know that your main demand is getting justice, and that should be our main concern as well. We know that the proceedings against the detainees must come to fruition, with appropriate proceedings that ensure the respective sentences, both for enforced disappearance as well as for organized crime.”
We highlight that the FGR, in coordination with the government of the state of Veracruz, filed the respective legal remedies against the recent decision of the federal judge. It is also important that the investigations into organized crime stay open, allowing for new allegations that amend current deficiencies and ensuring that appropriate evidence is found in order to prove the responsibility of the detainees. Otherwise, the probabilities that this case will go unpunished will be higher.
Luz María Martínez
Social Communication of the government of the state of Veracruz
+52 1 228 365 5403
+52 1 228 148 8775