Press Release

IACHR and Mexican State Sign Agreement to Reinstate the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) for the Ayotzinapa Case

May 7, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On May 6, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed the international agreement to reinstate the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) to provide international technical assistance in connection with the Ayotzinapa case. The agreement has also been signed by the Mexican state and representatives of the disappeared students and is now in force.

On December 3, 2019, at the request of the parents of the 43 students who disappeared from the Isidro Burgos Rural High School in Ayotzinapa in 2014, the IACHR put itself at the disposal of the Mexican state in order to reinstate the GIEI so that it could take part in the search for the students and the investigation into the events that took place on September 26 and 27, 2014. This decision falls under precautionary measure 409/14, which the IACHR issued to ascertain the whereabouts of the Ayotzinapa students and which remains in force.

In response, the IACHR and the Mexican state began the process of drafting an international agreement that would comply with the inter-American standards needed to guarantee the independence of the GIEI and provide it with the powers necessary for it to effectively carry out its mandate, working in collaboration with representatives of the students’ families and former members of the GIEI who will be involved in this next stage. The international agreement was signed by the Executive Secretary of the IACHR and the Mexican state, and by representatives of the missing students and their families and the Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa Case (COVAJ) as honorary witnesses.
The international agreement established that the GIEI will be reinstated and that it will include the same people who were involved in it during the first stage in its existence, as requested by the students’ relatives. The experts in question are Ángela Buitrago (Colombia), Carlos Beristain (Spain), Francisco Cox (Chile), and Claudia Paz (Guatemala). As established in its mandate, the GIEI will provide technical assistance with the investigation into the Ayotzinapa case.

This will include involvement in designing such plans, technical analysis and assistance with investigations, monitoring the implementation of the Agreement on Responses and Potential Reparation for Victims and Their Families, identifying patterns of torture, and analyzing guarantees of independence regarding the investigation. The GIEI will operate for nine months and will issue its first report three months after it begins to operate. The agreement establishes that it will share the results of its technical assistance work with the IACHR, the COVAJ, the Attorney General’s Office, victims and their representatives, and the OHCHR.

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 and to defend 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. 104/20