On 11 October, Amnesty International (AI) presented its sixth report regarding the use of torture in Mexico, entitled “Known criminals, ignored victims: torture and abuse in Mexico.”
In a press-conference, Alberto Herrera, director of AI Mexico, affirmed that torture in Mexico is a “systematic and generalized” practice, that it has increased “scandalously” due to the so-called war on organized crime as launched by Felipe Calderón and the total impunity enjoyed by those who prosecute it.
Herrera indicated that “the majority of [cases] are not ever investigated in an exhaustive manner, and those responsible are almost never handed over to the courts; for this reason, the victims do not have the possibility of obtaining recognition or compensation.” He affirmed that “it is incredibly difficult to determine the true magnitude and extensiveness of torture and other abuses in Mexico. This difficulty has to do in part with the weak system of denunciation and investigation, which basically never takes account of those responsible, leaving victims and witnesses exposed to suffer reprisals. One consequence of this is that there are far fewer cases than there should be.”
He noted that the lack of precise registration of this phenomenon has resulted in the fact that between 2008 and 2011 the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) said it had 58 preliminary investigations into torture and 4 cases with formal accusations, while the Council of the Federal Judiciary registered 12 processes and 5 condemnatory sentences. The National Institute for Statistics and Geography claimed it had no news of any sentence at all.
In its report, AI puts forth more than 40 recommendations to the Mexican State, among which it stresses the harmonization of internal legislation regarding torture with those of international accords, the establishment of a base of data on this phenomenon, the exhaustive investigation of public officials implicated in this crime, the rejection of evidence obtained through torture, and the restriction of military tribunals so that all abuses committed against civilians by soldiers be analyzed by civil courts.
For its part, the Federal Government said it would analyze the AI report. In a joint communique, the Ministries for Governance and External Affairs indicated that they maintain a policy of punctual observance of their international obligations in this matter. The communique announces that the departments will present a report regarding the observance of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment (signed by Mexico in 1986) on 31 October and 1 November at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in which it will highlight progress in the struggle against torture and challenges in these terms.
For more information (in Spanish):
Comunicado de prensa de AI (AI, 11 de octubre de 2012)
Aumentan tortura y desapariciones forzadas en el país: AI (Proceso, 11 de octubre de 2012)
Niveles escandalosos de tortura durante el sexenio de Calderón: AI (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2012)
Analizará Gobierno Federal informe de AI sobre tortura en México: SG y SRE (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2012)
México sí combate tortura responde gobierno a AI (El Universal, 12 de octubre de 2012)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)