WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
28 Jun 2018 | Commentary | News

Resource Page: Analysis and Information on Mexico’s Ayotzinapa Case

Background on the Ayotzinapa Case and the GIEI

The September 2014 enforced disappearance by Mexican security forces of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ School (Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos) in Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, has become one of Mexico’s most well-known cases of large-scale human rights violations. In addition to the enforced disappearances, six people, including three bystanders, were killed and many more injured in the events.

Today, following an initial attempt by Mexican authorities to construct a false version of the case, the investigation into these crimes has partially advanced and the remains of three students have been identified, but impunity persists and the full extent of what occurred and who was involved remains unknown.

On November 12, 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) signed an agreement with the students’ families and representatives and the Mexican government to provide technical assistance for the case. As a result, the IACHR formed the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos y Expertas Independientes, GIEI), a five-person team of internationally recognized human rights and criminal investigation experts that was tasked with assisting with the search for the students, the investigation into those responsible, the attention to the victims of the attack and their families, and the development of public policies regarding enforced disappearance.

The Group of Experts worked on the case and presented two reports from March 2015 to April 2016, when their mandate was not renewed by the Mexican government. In subsequent years, the IACHR continued to monitor the case through the Follow-Up Mechanism to the Ayotzinapa Case under a new agreement with the Mexican government, the students’ families, and their representatives.

In 2019, under the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the students’ families made an additional request for the GIEI’s assistance on the case, which the federal government transmitted to the IACHR. Two of the five original experts returned in 2019; in 2020 four members of the GIEI resumed work on the case in a technical cooperation agreement that has led to the publication of a third report

The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts

Below are resources regarding the work of the Group of Experts:

The Special Follow-Up Mechanism to Ayotzinapa 

Below are resources regarding the work of the Follow-Up Mechanism:

Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team

Since October 5, 2014, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF) has accompanied the forensic investigation as an independent expert on behalf of the students’ families.

Below are resources regarding the work of the EAAF:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • Double Injustice: Report on the Human Rights Violations in the Investigation of the Ayotzinapa Case, Mar. 15, 2018

WOLA resources on the Ayotzinapa case

Letters and Statements from U.S. Congress

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office

On October 4, 2014, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) took on the Ayotzinapa case, and on January 27, 2015, presented its theory of the case, essentially closing its investigation.

  • Video presentation of the PGR’s case theory, Jan. 27, 2015

Additional Resources: