Washington, D.C.—Today, the case of the 43 disappeared students in Mexico is receiving heightened international scrutiny. The Mexican government responded to a Monday New York Times editorial which stated that the country “stubbornly resists accountability,” including in one of the country’s “worst human rights atrocities in recent history.”
As reported in Forbes, President Peña Nieto’s Foreign Press and Country Brand Coordinator responded by saying “accountability, in fact, has been one of the top priorities of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Administration.”
According to WOLA, a leading human rights organization that has been closely monitoring the case and advocating for justice, the most important thing that the government must do right now to ensure accountability is to guarantee that the entire government cooperates fully with the group of international experts working on the case.
The government took an important step in November when it in named a new team of investigators within the Attorney General’s Office to work with the Experts. But now the government must acknowledge that its previous theory of the case—its “historic truth” that the students’ bodies were burned in a trash dump—has been discredited by scientific evidence. The government must pursue the new lines of investigation proposed by the Group of Experts.
In addition, the Mexican government should require the military to cooperate fully with the Group of Experts, including allowing the Experts to interview the soldiers directly. The ability to interview the military is key because soldiers were present at scenes of the attacks on the students, reporting to their superiors at the time. Up until now, the government has restricted the Experts’ access to the military, only offering the possibility to submit questions in writing, which could then be posed by the government’s prosecutors.
“If the Mexican government wants to show that it is committed to accountability, then the Group of Experts should be allowed to speak with the soldiers who were in the area that night,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA Senior Associate for Mexico. “The Mexican government took an important step by inviting this exceptional group of international experts to work on this case. Now it must ensure that no one stands in the way of uncovering the truth of what happened to the students.”
For further background on the recent work of the Group of Experts, please click here.
WOLA Director of Communications