Press Release

IACHR Extends Mandate of Interdisciplinary Group of Experts

October 28, 2015

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) decided to extend the mandate of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, for its acronym in Spanish) for six months, until April 30, 2016. This decision was adopted by the IACHR plenary after having listened to the members of GIEI, the representatives of the beneficiaries of precautionary measure PM 409/14, which protects the students of the Rural School “Raúl Isidro Burgos”, and the Mexican State.

The decision was adopted by the IACHR based on its monitoring functions on the situation of human rights established in article 106 of the Organization of American States Charter, article 41 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and article 18 of its Statute, as well as point 10 of the Cooperation on Technical Assistance agreement, signed with the Mexican State and the representatives of the beneficiaries of PM 409/14. This extension is valid for six months, starting October 31, 2015.

The members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts are Carlos Martín Beristain, Angela Buitrago, Francisco Cox Vial, Claudia Paz y Paz, and Alejandro Valencia Villa. The agreement—signed in November 2014 by the IACHR, the Mexican State, and representatives of the students— established the main activities to be carried out by the Interdisciplinary Group: draw up plans to search for the missing students alive; undertake a technical analysis of the lines of investigation to determine criminal liabilities; and perform a technical analysis of the Plan for Integral Attention to the Victims of the Events of September 26 and 27, 2014.

The Inter-American Commission welcomes the agreement reached by the GIEI and the Mexican State on October 19, 2015. In this document, changes were agreed to the handling of the investigation conducted by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) with regards to the events in Ayotzinapa, including the incorporation of the GIEI report to the investigation of the case. This will require evaluation of the implications of the report of the investigation of facts and follow up on GIEI’s recommendations for the investigation, and also joint planning of an investigation route that takes into consideration the lines set out by the report of GIEI. In addition, this will require the designation of a new investigation team, which will now be under the Human Rights Section of the PGR, will have the trust of the Attorney General and the GIEI, and will be backed by the representatives of the victims.

The Inter-American Commission highlights the importance of the report of the GIEI and of its actions in the next few months in order to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Mexican State to search for and locate disappeared persons, as well as for the investigation of other forced disappearance cases.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 119/15