Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Mexico to the Inter-American Court

September 27, 2016

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Washington, D.C – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case 12.846, Mariana Selvas Gomez et al., with regard to Mexico.

The case is related to human right’s violations committed against Mariana Selvas Gómez, Georgina Edith Rosales Gutiérrez, María Patricia Romero Hernández, Norma Aidé Jiménez Osorio, Claudia Hernández Martínez, Bárbara Italia Méndez Moreno, Ana María Velasco Rodríguez, Yolanda Muñoz Diosdada, Cristina Sánchez Hernández, Patricia Torres Linares and Suhelen Gabriela Cuevas Jaramillo in the context of detentions and transfers done by police operations in the municipalities of Texcoco and Salvador Atenco on May 3 and 4, 2006, respectively, in the context of the conflict and protests carried out by flower growers and other groups.

The Commission established that the detention of the eleven women on May 3 and 4, 2006 was illegal and arbitrary, and that they were not informed of the reasons for their detention, nor what they were being accused of. Moreover, the Commission determined that the eleven women made their first statement without any basic information or technical defense.

After analyzing the evidence available, the Commission noticed the existence of severe acts of physical and psychological violence, including diverse forms of sexual violence against the eleven women and rape in the case of Norma Aidé Jiménez Osorio, Mariana Selvas Gómez, Ana María Velasco Rodríguez, Suhelen Gabriela Cuevas Jaramillo, Bárbara Italia Méndez Moreno, Patricia Torres Linares and Claudia Hernández Martínez. The Commission considered it proved that these acts were committed by state agents, it classified these acts as torture and determined that the eleven women were victims of diverse forms of physical, psychological and sexual torture in the context of their detention, transfers and arrival to the detention center.

The Commission also established that the Mexican State did not comply with its obligation to investigate these acts with due diligence and in a reasonable time. Finally, the Commission determined that there were violations to the physical and moral integrity of the victim’s families.
In the Merits Report, the Commission recommended the State to arrange full reparation in favor of the victims for the human right’s violations stated in the report, including the material and moral aspects; and to provide them with medical and psychological treatment. Moreover, the Commission recommended to continue the investigations effectively, with due diligence and in reasonable time, for the purpose of fully establish what happened, and to identify and punish the different grades of responsibility, from the material authors to other forms of responsibility.  This includes the responsibilities derived from the chain of command, of the different forms of participation of security agents both at the state and the federal level, as well as possible cases of omission or concealment. The IACHR also recommended applying the administrative, disciplinary and/or criminal measures regarding the actions or omissions of the state agents or employees that contributed to all factors of denegation of justice identified in the report. Finally, the IACHR recommended adopting legislative, administrative and any other measures to prevent the repetition of the violations of human rights as occurred in this case.

The Inter-American Commission referred the case to the jurisdiction of the Court on September 17, 2016, in virtue of the need to obtain justice for the victims. During the processing of the case at the Commission, the State recognized its responsibility for some of the violations of the human rights of the victims. The IACHR’s considerations regarding the reach and effect of that recognition are included in the Merits Report. After having evaluated the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Merits Report, the Commission established that the State had not made integral and substantive progress in the compliance with the recommendations.

More than ten years later, there is no judicial clarification of the violations occurred against the eleven women victims, and the criminal processes have not ended in any judgment being issued. In the answers to the IACHR regarding compliance with the recommendations about making justice, the State sent information regarding the investigations that had already been described and analyzed in the Merits Report, not showing any significant progress after the notification of the Report. Regarding the same recommendation, the State did not send substantive information on relevant progress in order to identify new lines of investigation that could help to establish all the responsibilities for the facts, as established in the Merits Report.

Concerning the measures of reparation and rehabilitation, the Commission takes note of the information presented by the State regarding the creation of the necessary structures for the victims to access reparations if and when they wish to do so. The Commission also takes note that the victims expressed that the compliance with the recommendations in matters of justice is fundamental for the victims.

This case offers an opportunity for the Inter-American Court to deepen its jurisprudence regarding the necessity of integrally investigating all the possible responsibilities, including those coming from the chain of command, as well as those derived from actions or omissions that gave place to the events and also those who could have disrupted the process of establishing the truth of what happened.

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. 140/16