National: Istanbul Protocol Used to Cover up Torture cases in Mexico

@ Centro Prodh

In recent days, a report was released on the results of the investigation into the use of the Istanbul Protocol (IP) by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR, now FGR) in handling cases of possible torture. 

The Istanbul Protocol is a manual “for the effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” on which Mexico based an internal means of documentation and investigation of these cases in 2003, in addition to “adopting of a series of measures to improve forensic evaluations.” 

Despite these measures, the Physicians for Human Rights organization concluded that in Mexico “there was no political will to allow an independent and impartial evaluation of the facts of possible torture by the PGR” as “far from being tools for access to justice, they have become a tool to hide cases of mistreatment or torture”, the authors of the report documented.

The document demonstrates the “enormous” percentage of torture victims who did not have access to an adequate opinion, as well as the ways in which these “negative” or “inconsistent opinions […] effectively impede the criminal investigation of torture” resulting in “torture as a practice rooted in criminal investigations in Mexico.” In addition to highlighting the “grotesque” breach of the rules of practice in the sworn statements of forensic professions used by the FGR regarding people who claim to have suffered torture while in the custody of government officials. 

In this sense, the Independent Group of Experts in the Istanbul Protocol made a series of recommendations if “they really want to give a message of progress by the Mexican State and its institutions.” These include having an independent mechanism from the Prosecutor’s Office, issuing administrative sanctions for malpractice that cover up acts of torture and that the CNDH investigate them as a violation of human rights, among others.

For more information in Spanish:

Peritos de Fiscalía encubren tortura en México, acusa Grupo Independiente (Investigación) (Educa Oaxaca, 3 de febrero 2021)

Encubriendo la tortura: uso inadecuado del Protocolo de Estambul en México(Animal político, 2 de febrero 2021)

Descargar el informe completo: Encubriendo la tortura (Irredentos, 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Intervention of National Mechanism for Prevention of Torture in Prisons Requested(August 20,2020)
Oaxaca: Torture against Human Rights Defender Fredy García Ramírez of CODEDI, denounce NGO (July 17, 2020)
Guerreo/National: Two Agents Arrested for Torture in Ayotzinapa Case and Extradition Proceedings Begin against Tomas Zeron (July 12, 2020)

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