Guerrero: Group of Experts on Ayotzinapa case presents its report 6 months on

September 13, 2015

DSCF5588March for Ayotzinapa, Mexico City, 26 September. Photo @SIPAZ

The disappeared students from Ayotzinapa were not incinerated in the Cocula dump, as the Federal Attorney General’s Office had indicated at the beginning of this year, in accordance with the findings of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as asserted during the presentation of its report 6 months on (6 September 2015). What took place against the students of Ayotzinapa nearly a year ago in Iguala, Guerrero, was “a massive attack” that involved 180 direct victims, including 6 extrajudicial executions and 43 “forcible disappearances,” as the IACHR experts discuss. The expert Carlos Beristain affirmed that “there was the presence of different State agents (municipal, ministerial, and federal police) and we did not find any evidence of attempts to rescue. What happened was an attack that went beyond the mere neutralization of persons.” Beyond this, “there was a delay in attention to the victims. The ambulance crews were afraid to go out.” The experts further stressed that the ovens and crematories that may have been used to burn the students’ bodies must be investigated. For their part, the parents of the disappeared request the indefinite presence of the specialists until truth and justice are revealed.

The expert José Torero visited the Cocula dump on 12 July, accompanied by the GIEI, and he established the necessary conditions to incinerate a human body. “He showed us the evidence and the state-of-the-art science indicating that the optimal means of incinerating a body is a crematory oven. These conditions require between 90 and 120 minutes to burn a sole corpse,” noted the expert Francisco Cox during the press-confernece. He also specified that to incinerate a body 650 kilograms of wood are needed. Besides this, the flames that would be needed would have overwhelmed the dump altogether, destroying everything else present—something that did not happen. “The incineration of the 43 could not have transpired in the Cocula dump,” stressed Carlos Beristain. In light of this, the experts called for an investigation of the crematory ovens that could have been used to burn the bodies of the students.

Another affair that the experts clarified is that there were five, not four, buses that had been taken by the students on 26 September. The existence of the fifth bus was first denied in the initial investigations. In light of video evidence indicating its presence, federal authorities presented a truck for the experts to examine, and the latter concluded that it did not seem to be the same one that appeared in the video taken the day of the disappearances. To date, this bus has not been found, and the GIEI suspects that it could have been a vehicle used for the transport of drugs that had been casually taken by the youth, thus provoking the massive and indiscriminate attack prosecuted by unknown actors who have been protected by total impunity.

Both the parents and mothers of the disappeared as well as the organizations that accompany them, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, and the Prodh Center stressed that all the authorities who have impeded the investigation should themselves be investigated. They also specified that the investigation should incorporate the entire context of criminality, as it is not believable that collusion between organized crime and the authorities is limited merely to the municipal level.

For more information (in Spanish):

“Los muchachos no fueron incinerados en basurero de Cocula”: #InformeGIEI (Aristegui Noticias, 6 de septiembre de 2015)

Investiguen los hornos crematorios, piden expertos del caso Ayotzinapa al gobierno (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de septiembre de 2015)

Trasiego de drogas en autobuses, línea por indagar en caso Iguala (La Jornada, 6 de septiembre de 2015)

Informe completo Ayotzinapa (GIEI, 6 de septiembre de 2015)

video: Informe Ayotzinapa

video: Posición oficial de la PGR

video: Pronunciamiento de familiares

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Tlachinollan dedicates its XXI activity report to parents of the disappeared of Ayotzinapa (11 September 2015)

National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express taht they will not be silenced (3 July 2015)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


Guerrero: NGO releases Urgent Action to protect Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete

September 10, 2015

P1010904Landscape of the Mountain region of Guerrero. Photo @SIPAZ archive

On 2 August, the José María Morelos y Pavón Human Rights Center (Morelos Center) released an Urgent Action (UA) to protect the life of the Iguala activists Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, who have been threatened with death after having led a struggle against the Media Luna mining corporation in defense of the territory on which the Tlachinollan community finds itself located.  The communique incorporating the UA establishes that in 2007, Bahena García undertook together with her father a struggle against the Media Luna company in the communities of Real de Limón and La Fundación, Cocula municipality, for which she received death-threats, with three of her comrades being imprisoned.  On 30 July, close to 7:30pm, she received a threatening phonecall during which a man warned her that she, her comrade Diana Carolin, and the lawyer for the Morelos Center, Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, needed to “leave this place” or, if not, “I will split you in two.”  After she hung up on the call, she received a text message telling her that they know of her husband and family, insisting that she should abandon the place.

The Morelos Center considers it to be evident that Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete are at risk of losing their lives or being attacked.  For this reason, its UA demands the respect of the lives and physical integrity of Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, calls on the Mexican State to respect, observe, and implement all the mechanisms and actions related to the precautionary measures to protect the physical and psychological integrity of Evelia Bahena García, Diana Carolina Brito Bahena, and Félix Rodríguez Navarrete, and demands that the Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) launch a timely and exhaustive investigation to arrest and punish those responsible for these threats.

For more information (in Spanish):

AU_Centro_Morelos (2 de agosto de 2015)

Pide ONG al gobierno proteger a activistas de Iguala amenazados de muerte (La Jornada, 5 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Indigenous from Mountain region request legal motion against British mining corporation (7 December 2013)

Guerrero: PGR’s investigation into Iguala case continues to be lacking: CNDH (10 September 2015)


National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced

July 3, 2015

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@LaJornada

On 26 June, nine months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, parents of the youth and other groups mobilized in Mexico City, carrying out a rally and an artistic event of 43 hours in length that included poetry-readings and theater next to the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) Palace. Felipe de la Cruz, the spokesperson for the movement of relatives of the disappeared, said that “just as we have remained firm from the beginning, so will we continue until our youth appear with life.” “We tell you, State, and we say to you that we will be the pebble in your shoe, because we are not going to be silent, and we are not going to stop on our path […]. We will not stop struggling until our sons are presented with life,” said another relative of the disappeared. Also in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, many social organizations united their demands toward the presentation with life of the youth, and they took to the streets to demand justice. Using slogans such as “Down with the State!” and “Investigate the military!” protestors also carried banners denouncing military harassment and educational reforms.

On 17 June, Proceso reported that one of the 43 disappeared students was an active soldier. Previously, a journalist had requested information from the Ministry for National Defense (SEDENA) inquiring into whether any of the disappeared students had been an active soldier. According to the editors, this approach had to do with “a line of investigation regarding the degree of infiltration o the State within the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, which is considered by the political authorities to be a ‘fountain of guerrilleros.” SEDENA responded by saying that “we have found one person whose name corresponds to one of the 42 disappeared students from the Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, following your request; however, the name is classified to protect personal data.” Amidst this revelation, relatives of the disappeared stressed that this “shows clearly the military’s responsibility” in the case. Subsequently, on 26 June, personnel from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) visited the municipal landfill of Cocula, where in October of last year a clandestine mass-grave was discovered. Beyond this, the command of the Iguala Preventive Police was shuttered, with no further information provided regarding the aim sought by this move.

For more information (in Spanish):

No nos vamos a callar”: familiares a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

Manifestantes marchan en Guerrero a 9 meses de caso Ayotzinapa(Informador.mx, 26 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (Proceso, 17 de junio de 2015)

A nueve meses de su desaparición, padres de normalistas dicen: “está muy cerca la verdad” (Proceso, 27 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case

February 5, 2015

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March for Ayotzinapa in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 14 November 2014

Photo @ SIPAZ archive

The Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has failed adequately to investigate the denunciations that have been made of the complicity of the armed forces and other authorities in the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, according to Erika Guevara Rosas, Regional Director of the Americas for Amnesty International, as she claimed in a press-conference on 22 January.  The Amnesty experts have criticized the inconsistencies in the investigations carried out by the PGR, whose head, Jesús Murillo Karam, declared on 21 January that his conclusion is that the 43 students have been killed, based on the identification of the remains of the student Alexander Mora Venancio among the evidence recovered at the waste-dump in Cocula, Guerrero.  On 22 January, relatives and friends of Alexander Mora marched through the streets of the Tecoanapa municipality to demand the presentation of the remains of the student.  José Félix Rosas Rodríguez, spokesperson of the Popular Movement of Guerrero (MPG) in Tecoanapa, said that “more than a month and a half on, they have not returned the remains of the student to his father, Ezequiel Mora Chona.”

On 20 January, Institute of Forensic Medicine at Innsbruck University announced that the scientific studies that were applied to the remains collected in Cocula–that is, which presumably belong to the disappeared students–establish that “the excessive heat has destroyed the DNA […] of the remains, such that to date, the routine methods that have been used have not produced a conclusive result.”  The Institute mentioned the possibility of using a new technology that could serve as a useful tool to continue examining the presumed remains of the disappeared students.  Without having consulted the relatives of the disappeared, the PGR requested that the Institute immediately carry out said studies.

The relatives and their counsel, Vidulfo Rosales, from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, have insisted that the investigation must include the role of the Army in the disappearances, and that the military barracks must be opened to search for evidence.  However, on 21 January, the search for the students in these barracks “has been suspended,” according to Rosales, who indicated that the agreement made with the Secretary of Governance, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, had been to “examine all the barracks, but now we are surprised that they are saying that only Iguala will be investigated.”  All the relevant police stations and jails have been investigated to date, but not Army installations.  Beyond this, “there is evidence” against the military, in light of the “defensive attitude taken by the federal government,” the lawyer added.

Four months after the disappearance of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, the parents of the disappeared have organized new mobilizations for 26 January at 10am, when four megamarches will be launched in Mexico City.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ayotzinapa: Amnistía Internacional acusa falta de investigación sobre la participación del ejército (Información SIDIDH, 22 de enero de 2015)

PGR falló en investigación sobre el caso Ayotzinapa: AI (Aristegui Noticias, 21 de enero de 2015)

Crece la rabia: que por lo menos investiguen al Ejército (Proceso, 18 de enero de 2015)

“Calor excesivo ha destruido el ADN” de presuntos restos de estudiantes de Ayotzinapa: Innsbruck (Aristegui Noticias, 21 de enero de 2015)


Guerrero: More updates in the Ayotzinapa case

January 21, 2015

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Omar García, a student from Ayotzinapa, after having beaten by soldiers in Iguala. Foto @Regeneración

Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, has confirmed that the team of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will analyze the investigation of the massacre and forcible disappearance of the students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School which took place on 26 September in Iguala.  The IACHR continues to seek out persons to come to Mexico to review the evidence provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the search-work carried out by the National Gendarmerie, and to decide whether the authorities are in fact exhausting all lines of investigation.  Barrera Hernández has confirmed that an agreement had been signed with the federal government to ensure that the experts also be protected by the precautionary measures that the IACHR will award to the parents of the disappeared students.

Meanwhile, the search for the disappeared students continues.  The relatives of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa began their citizens’ searches on Saturday 10 January in the northern sierra of Guerrero, in the community known as Filo del Caballo. During a meeting between the parents of the disappeared and representatives from the Citizens’ Forensic Science organization, which has documented more than 300 cases of disappearances in this city, Felipe de la Cruz, a father of the disappeared, indicated that their counterparts have information that suggests that the students could be in this region.  De la Cruz recalled that all social organizations are invited to participate in the search for the students.  He repeated that the parents would not request the assistance of the federal government, given that it has produced no results, more than 3 months after the students were taken.  “They have no leads.  They have arrested more than 90 [people], but no one has said where they are.  For that reason, we believe the word of the people,” he declared.

Beyond this, on 12 January, parents of the disappeared students had a confrontation with military riot police and state forces when they attempted to enter the barracks of the 27th Infantry Batallion in Iguala, to continue their search for their disappeared sons.  Students who were present near the infantry base were attacked by the police with tear-gas and water-cannons.  The protestors used two trucks to tear down the entrance of the base and rescue the students they believe are being held there.  Mobilizations against military installations spread to the Acapulco and Cruz Grande municipalities.  In these, protestors demanded the opening of the barracks to facilitate the search for the disappeared youth, as they hold that there is “evidence” that the Army participated in the crime.  Regardless, the federal authorities deny that that is the case, and they claim the case to be the responsibility of the municipal police of Iguala and Cocula, tied to drug-trafficking interests.

For more information (in Spanish):

Cabildea ya la CIDH entre los expertos que revisarán el expediente de Ayotzinapa, adelanta Tlachinollan (Sur Acapulco, 12 de enero de 2015)

Comenzará mañana en la sierra norte búsqueda de normalistas (El Universal, 9 de enero de 2015)

Se enfrentan padres de Ayotzinapa con militares, cuatro heridos(Regeneración, 12 de enero de 2015)

Padres de normalistas se enfrentan con militares en Iguala (CNN México, 12 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Guerrero: update in the Ayotzinapa case

December 17, 2014

San_Cristobal

Photo @SIPAZ

The parents and relatives of the disappeared normalist students have rejected the version presented by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) that the youth were burned and reduced to ashes in the garbage-dump of Cocula, Guerrero.  The families held that the remains of Alexander Mora Venancio, the only one of the 43 students who has been identified, were provided by the government to maintain the version of the three narco-hitmen who confessed to burning the remains of the students after killing them.  “The Argentinian investigators cannot confirm that these remains were found in Cocula, because they were not present at the time of the discovery of the remains [of Alexander Mora], such that the black bags containing the remains were open,” said a representative.  The director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria, affirmed that expectations are “very low” that the laboratory will be able to identify the human remains that were presumably found in Cocula, because the conditions to which they were consciously exposed converted them to a “very challenging” state.

Beyond this, civil-society organizations have defended the legal representatives of the families of the 43 students disappeared by the police in Iguala, after it was reported that the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), associated with the Secretary of Governance, had qualified them as a “danger for governance,” making reference to members of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.  In a communique, 19 human-rights organizations denounced and lamented that the government would try to discredit human-rights defenders and use public resources to weaken the movement for the disappeared in place of employing the capacities of intelligence agencies to combat the infiltration and corruption of the “narco-State” and ensure that grave human-rights violations do not remain in impunity.

On 3 December, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) visited the Rural Normal school of Ayotzinapa to meet with relatives and friends of the disappeared students.  The visit was part of a follow-up campaign that the OACNUDH has provided in the case.  The Office reiterated its solidarity and energetic denunciation of the events of Iguala.

In a communique from 10 December, the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico demanded that the government of Enrique Peña Nieto clarify the role played by the Mexican Army and federal police in the disappearance of the 43 students.  In this way, it also demanded that Angela Merkel’s government suspend negotiations regarding security agreements with Mexico until the latter government provides a report on the general situation of human rights in Mexico.  On 10 December, the German daily Tages Zeitung reported that at least 36 of the weapons presumably used against the normalist students of Ayotzinapa were G-36 German assault rifles, produced by the Heckler & Koch corporation.  A day previous, on 9 December, deputies of the green parties in the European Parliament protested inside the parliament building in Brussels, demanding that the Mexican government use all possible means of finding the disappeared students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School alive.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defienden 19 ONG a Vidulfo Rosales y Abel barrera ante ataques del CISEN (El Sur de Acapulco, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Comunicado de prensa – ONU-DH visita a familiares y compañeros de los normalistas en Ayotzinapa y reitera su respaldo a sus demandas de justicia (Tlachinallon, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Defendamos a Tlachinollan ante ataques del Cisen (EDUCA, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Son “muy bajas” las expectativas para identificar los restos de Cocula, dice la universidad de Austria (El Sur de Acapulco, 9 de diciembre de 2014)

Ayotzinapa: Vivos los queremos (El Topil, diciembre de 2014)

Comunicado de prensa (Coordinación alemana, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

Acuerdo de seguridad Alemania-México: inminente y poco transparente(Deutsche Welle, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

Se utilizaron armas alemanas en ataque a normalistas (Proceso, 10 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: 2 months after the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, more cases of forced disappearances and violence emerge

December 15, 2014

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Photo @SIPAZ

On 26 November, French television channel France 24 reported that two months after the case of the disappearance of 43 normalist students in Iguala, another 31 youth from the neighboring municipality of Cocula were disappeared by organized crime.  The high-school students have been missing since 7 July, though the case was not well-known due to the fear of the locals in light of the death-threats issued by those who carried out the disappearances.  The final day of classes before the start of summer vacations, masked men dressed in marine blue, seemingly riding in police vehicles, kidnapped the youth as they were leaving the Justo Sierra high school.  The school is located just by the mayor’s hall of Cocula.  Local police have also been implicated in the Ayotzinapa case.  National and international journalistic coverage of the 43 normalists from Ayotzinapa motivated the mother of one of the disappeared youth to break the silence.  Other off-camera testimonies confirmed the kidnapping of the youth.  However, the Office for National Security (CNS) reported that no denunciation exists, nor is there any report from the educational authorities, regarding the missing 30 students.  Beyond this, units from the federal police visited the Justo Sierra high school, and the vice principal claimed not to know anything about the disappearance of any students attending the school.  The governor of Guerrero, Rogelio Ortega, indicated that the disappearances of the youth of Cocula took place between 2 and 3 July.  He mentioned that this was documented on the Guerrero state-government’s web page, even though “there was no denunciation made.”

It must be stressed that, in the first 10 months of 2014, at least 12 cases of collective disappearances have been seen in Mexico.  Cases similar to that of Ayotzinapa, even including the same number of victims, have been presented in seven other states.  In the month before the events in Iguala, 199 persons were disappeared.  The states with the highest number of victims have been Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Guerrero.  A year before the disappearance of the 43 Mexican students in Iguala, there was another night of terror in a neighboring community, where residents relate that an armed commando group invaded various houses and forcibly took groups of people, in their majority youth.  Cocula is one of the municipalities of Guerrero where violence has most acutely affected the population.  At least 82 have been disappeared, murdered, or kidnapped in the past 3 years.

Another case of extreme violence in the state took place on 27 November: at least 11 burned and decapitated bodies were found on a path by the community of Ayahualulco in Chilapa. In a communique, the State Prosecutorial General’s Office (FGE) reported that the 11 males killed lost their lives due to gunfire and were then semi-burned.  Their corpses appeared ridden with gunshot wounds emanating from high-caliber firearms.  Beside the bodies, there was a note left that was directed to a criminal group known as “The Squirrels” saying: “There you go, trash.”  Chilapa de Álvarez has been the site of other violence episodes this year.  Between 8 and 10 July, confrontations were registered between presumed criminals and police that left 14 dead.  A day later, six more bodies were found.  It was reported that these persons died after a confrontation between two organized-crime gorups.

For more information (in Spanish):
11 decapitados en Guerrero; PGR atrae investigación (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Reportan desaparición de otros 31 estudiantes en Cocula (Proceso, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

France 24 revela nuevo secuestro masivo de estudiantes en Guerrero (VIDEO) (SDP Noticias, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

Confirma gobernador de Guerrero desaparición de jóvenes en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

Afirman autoridades que no hay denuncia sobre secuestro en Cocula (La Jornada, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

La noche olvidada de Cocula (El Faro, 23 de octubre de 2014)

Desaparecen 5 al día tras caso Ayotzinapa (Excelsior, 26 de noviembre de 2014)

Cocula: 82 desaparecidos, asesinados o secuestrados en los tres últimos años (El Sur de Acapulco, 27 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas: Day of actions for Ayotzinapa to observe the Mexican Revolution (7 December 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: National Brigade for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Police beat journalists during protest for Ayotzinapa (6 December 2014)

Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration (13 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)