Guerrero briefs: Valentina before the IACHR- Developments in the case of prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández

June 8, 2010

On 27 May, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) heard in San José, Costa Rica, the case of indigenous woman Valentina Rosendo Cantú, who for eight years has stipulated that she was raped by soldiers in the municipality of Acatepec, Guerrero.  “From the court I hope for justice–I hope that the soldiers be imprisoned, and that the government accept that it indeed was members of the military who abused me,” declared Rosendo to the media during a recess from hearings, during which her testimony was presented in a closed session.  She assured that “the eight years of waiting, of all the suffering, were worth it, because to have arrived here was important.” She added that, after having filed complaints in Mexico, she had received death-threats and was forced to leave her community for fear of reprisal.  She noted that the State has denied recognition of all responsibility for her case.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), represenative of Rosendo before the IACHR, has criticized that this case is being considered in military tribunal.  According to CEJIL, the Mexican State is in “complete contempt” of a finding made by the Inter-American Court that claims that in Mexico military jurisdiction should not handle investigations of human-rights violations.

This is the second case of its kind for which Mexico finds itself in the dock of the IACHR: last April, the IACHR’s judges considered the case of the Me’phaa indigenous woman Inés Fernández, who denounced her having been abused by soldiers in 2002.  The case has not reached a verdict to date.

On the other hand, a bulletin released by the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights explains that a judge had found falsehoods in the declarations of the principal accuser against the prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández, of the OPIM.

The main judge in the case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, whose offices are located in Ayutla, engaged in an ocular inspection of the Me’phaa community El Camalote that allowed him to verify that both the distance between the home of the primary witness and the location where the reported events purpotedly took place as well as the geographical features of the land together with darkness would not have allowed said witness enough visibility to see what he claims to have seen.

According to the Tlachinollan Center and members of OPIM, this “subtracts from the value of Fidel Remigio’s testimony; accordingly, penal action against Raúl Hernández should desist, as it has been shown once again that he is being held under fabricated charges for his work in defense of the human rights of indigenous peoples.”

For more information (in Spanish):

– Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Indigenous woman calls for justice from the IACHR (El Universal, 28 May)

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights hears case of Guerrero indigenous woman (La Jornada, 28 May)

– Regarding Raúl Hernández

OPIM/Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (1 June)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

– Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Guerrero: Briefs – CECOP demonstrates before Senate/Press-conference on the cases of Inés and Valentina is held (27 May)

– Regarding Raúl Hernández

Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández (Abril 23, 2010)

Guerrero: OPIM members win appeal for legal protection (February 25, 2010)

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