Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress on Investigations into the Ayotzinapa Case

July 2, 2020

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Report on the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Case (MESA)

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the announcement that progress has been made on investigations into the Ayotzinapa Case, which reveal new momentum around investigations and the eventual judicialization of the case.

According to information provided by the Attorney General’s Office, 46 new arrest warrants for public officials were issued in various municipalities in the state of Guerrero in relation to the Ayotzinapa Case. Six arrest warrants were requested and issued in March for former officials who took part in the first stage of the investigation. According to information provided by the Attorney General’s Office, these individuals were connected to the events in question due to the possible involvement in the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime. Likewise, the IACHR deems the arrest of an individual with alleged ties to the leadership of the so-called Guerreros Unidos to be relevant to the investigation, as this criminal organization has been linked to the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Isidro Burgos Rural High School in Ayotzinapa in the state of  Guerrero on September 26 and 27, 2014, as the IACHR noted in its report on the Special Follow-Up Mechanism on the Ayotzinapa Case (MESA) of November 25, 2018.

The IACHR has been supporting the search for the 43 students and the criminal investigation into their disappearance from the outset. As part of this process, it issued Precautionary Measure 409/14, which remains in force. It later created an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which provided state authorities with technical assistance and presented the conclusions from its work in two reports that included recommendations for the state. It also created the MESA to monitor compliance with the precautionary measure and the GIEI’s recommendations in order to assist with the search and investigation in response to demands for truth and justice on the part of victims’ relatives. The IACHR has issued two reports on the matter, is continuing to monitor the case through the MESA, and its Technical Support Group in Mexico is part of the Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa Case. On May 6, 2020, the IACHR and the Mexican State signed an international agreement to re-establish the GIEI.

In response to these reports, the IACHR looks positively on the change to the official version of events, which is now consistent with its recommendations and those put forward by the GIEI, and on the fact that the investigation has now been reoriented toward the crime of forced disappearance to reflect the behavior that was perpetrated. Likewise, the authorities’ decision to put an end to the so-called historical truth has allowed prosecuting bodies to explore new lines of investigation relating to the fabrication of evidence, the concealment of evidence, and the occurrence of acts of torture during the first arrests of individuals who were allegedly involved in the students’ disappearance. This is also consistent with the recommendations of the IACHR and the GIEI through the various instruments mentioned above.

Furthermore, the IACHR deems it extremely important that authorities have announced that they will soon be making public the results of the forensic and genetic studies of the human remains found in late 2019 and which are currently being pursued in Innsbruck, Austria.

The IACHR encourages Mexico to continue its search efforts and to pursue investigations to shed light on these events, including establishing those who are criminally responsible for them in accordance with the standards of due diligence. In so doing, it wishes to reiterate its own recommendations and those of the GIEI. On this point, and with regard to the structural recommendations that relate to the case, the IACHR calls for the Standardized Search Protocol to be adopted and for the Extraordinary Forensic Identification Mechanism to be implemented to guarantee the rights of victims and their families. The IACHR once more sends its condolences to the families of the 43 missing students, the students who were murdered, and those who survived, and reiterates its commitment to the quest for truth and justice.

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. 158/20