In its 23 November sentence that was made public in December, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) found the Mexican government to bear responsibility for the disappearance of Guerrero-based social activist Rosenda Radilla Pacheco in 1974 and condemned the great number of massive and systematic rights-violations that took place during México’s so-called “Dirty War.” IACHR further questioned the military tribunals and called on Mexican authorities to adopt reforms that would guarantee that human-rights violations committed by the military be dealt with in civilian courts.
The CIDH demanded that the Mexican State continue in its search for the missing campesino and that it publicly recognize its responsibility in this case as well as produce a biography of Pacheco’s life, make available psychological assistance to his family members, and pay the equivalent of $238,000 in reparations.
In the weeks following the public release of IACHR’s statement on the case, the government faced pressure to attack the findings through sources both in government and outside of it: the CNDH (whose ombudsman found it “ridiculous” to have to resort to international justice organizations in cases such as this one); the Permanent Commission of the National Congress; Amnesty International; and the Association of Families of the Incarcerated, Disappeared, and Victims of Human-Rights Violations. In this light, the Minister of the Interior, who during a press conference on the matter claimed that CIDH should not bear judgment on a case that occurred 35 years ago, promised to respect the sentence and pay the recommended fine, all in the public eye. Nonetheless, “Tito Radilla, who struggled in this case at both the national and international level, stated that an honorary plaque in memory of her father was not enough, and made clear that what she demands is an investigation to locate his remains” (Milenio).
For more information (in Spanish):
Mexico is condemned for its “Dirty War” (article, Informador, 15/01/10)
New sentence by CIDH finds government responsible in the Radilla case (article, La Jornada, 16/01/10)
Ombudsman will oversee the implementation of CIDH’s ruling (article, Milenio, 18/12/09)
CIDH condemns México for its dirty war (article, El Universal, 15/12/09)
The case of Radilla Pacheco vs. México, ruling of 23 November 2009 (Inter-American Court on Human Rights)
For more information from SIPAZ (in Spanish):
Impunity in Guerrero: An Endemic Problem (SIPAZ document, September 2007)