San José, Costa Rica / Chihuahua, México, April 24, 2018.- On April 26 and 27, the Inter-American The forced disappearance occurred during the time of the failed strategy of the Operativos Conjuntos (Joint Operations) implemented by the administration of Felipe Calderón, with the result of thousands of human rights violations.
After the disappearance of the victims, more than 10 investigations were filed in different offices without results.
The case represents a historical opportunity for the process of memory, truth, reliable justice and integral redress in favor of all of Mexico’s disappeared persons and their relatives.
Court of Human Rights will hear the testimonies of two members of the family of Nitza Paola Alvarado Espinoza, Rocío Irene Alvarado Reyes and José Ángel Alvarado Herrera, relatives among themselves, disappeared in the Ejido Benito Juárez, municipality of Buenaventura, Chihuahua on December 29, 2009 by elements of the Mexican Army.
These events occurred in the framework of the “War on Drugs”, a strategy that privileges the participation of the Armed Forces in public law enforcement and that has continued into the administration of the current president Enrique Peña Nieto. With the implementation of Joint Operations in several states in the country, Chihuahua turned into the most violent state in Mexico in 2010, with a rate of 110 murders for every 100 thousand inhabitants.
After the disappearance, 12 national and international instances have heard the case, among them the State Attorney General Office, several areas of Mexico’s Attorney General Office, the National Human Rights Commission and even the military jurisdiction. The demand for justice and for knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones have brought threats for the families on several occasions and have led them to be forcibly displaced, currently some of them are trying to obtain political asylum in the United States.
This case demonstrates what thousands of families of disappeared persons in Mexico live every day: there were never any immediate nor effective actions for search that conducted towards finding the disappeared persons alive; there has been no investigation to determine the responsibility for the disappearance. Actually, the proceedings of the investigation in themselves constituted an obstacle for the access to justice and in many times attempted to place the burden of the progress of the investigations on the family. Therefore, this will be the first time the Inter-American Court hears a case in the current framework of disappearances in Mexico, a number that according to official information amounts to 35,000 persons recognized as disappeared from 2007 to date.
In June 2011, the families filed the complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). After 8 years of the families of Nitza Paola, Rocío Irene and José Ángel demanding justice, searching their relatives in despair, the Inter-American Court will hear the case, a product of the failure of the Mexican State to comply with the recommendations issued by the IACHR, instance that found in this case that the Mexican State was responsible for their forced disappearance and therefore recommended Mexico to investigate the events with due diligence, search the disappeared victims and sanction the responsible parties. In addition to this, the IACHR determined the responsibility of the State for the violations to the human rights of the relatives, derived from threats and harassment against them, and requested that the Mexican State adopted a series of measures for redress and for avoiding repetition of the events.
The case was forwarded by the IACHR on November 9, 2016 and the written stage of the proceedings has concluded. During the public hearing six people will appear before the Inter-American Court, testimonies and arguments will be submitted to prove the responsibility of the army, the omission of the authorities in the search and in the investigations and the lack of protection to the relatives. Also, expert witness reports will be presented by the victims, the State and the IACHR.
For the relatives of the victims in this case, the sentence issued in this hearing will be a recognition to their fight and the struggle of thousands of families which demand proper and proportional measures against the problem of forced disappearance in Mexico.
The representing organizations, the Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres (CEDEHM), the Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Cosyddhac), the Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte (CDHPN) and Mexicanos/as en el Exilio hope that this resolution serves for a deep reflection on the negative consequences of militarization as strategy for the fight against organized crime, to address the problem of forced displacement in Mexico that is increasingly expanding in the country without recognition and without proper public policies, and also to provide an account of the obstacles and risks faced by the families to find their loved ones and to obtain justice in the case.
Finally, in the framework of the policy implemented in Mexico in the last two presidential terms, this resolution may determine that the Ley de Seguridad Interior (Law of Internal Security) violates international human rights treaties that Mexico has ratified. Likewise, the sentence may add to the many claims of civil society and local, national and international human rights organizations. Without a doubt, the resolution may serve for the countries in all the continent where militarization for security is being discussed as an option.
Follow the streaming of the hearing in: http://www.corteidh.or.cr