Guerrero – Briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo

December 21, 2011

Valentina Rosendo durante el acto oficial de reconocimiento @ quoruminformativo

Valentina Rosendo during the act of recognition @ quoruminformativo

A year and four months late, Alejandro Poiré, secretary of Governance, offered a public apology in the name of the Mexican State to the Guerrero indigenous woman Valentina Rosendo Cantú, in an act of recognition of its international responsibility in the violation of her humans rights and lack of adequate attention in observing the points outlined in a sentence of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).  The act was held in Mexico City in the presence of social and human-rights organizations.

Poiré assured that despite the near-decade of struggle, total observance of the sentence should be had, given that the acts suffered by Valentina were “so lamentable and so terrible [… that] they should never be repeated with any other person in any other part of the country.”

Without referring to which types of public servants it was who violated Valentina’s rights, Poiré indicated that the “deviations” of public officials who violate human rights “should be investigated, punished, and compensated entirely by the Mexican State.”  He added that the acts which occurred in 2002 and the impunity of the case is not a generalized affair in the Calderón government: “It is evident that those isolated cases in no way represent the policy of the Mexican State, which is oriented always to the promotion, respect, protection, and guarantee of human rights.”

Valentina Rosendo related her nearly ten years of suffering not only due to the sexual violence of the soldiers but also because of the consequences that followed from her denunciation of members of the armed forces, such as her having to flee from her land and live in the face of constant threat of death: “I continue struggling as a woman and [my husband] has never valued that.  He left cowardly, but I continue with my face high, I brought up my daughter, and here I am proud of myself, of being who I am.”  Valentina shared that she thought her violation should help other besieged women defend themselves and denounce their attackers

To conclude, Poiré directed himself to the victim: “Esteemed Valentina, example Valentina: Nearly a decade ago the State did not protect you or procure you justice; today the Mexican State recognizes its responsibility and acts in consequence; this public act is a reflection of this conviction, and, knowing that your suffering is irreparable, we desire that for you and the little Yenis and all your relatives this symbolic act translate into a minimal restitution of justice, and that it serves for the reconstruction of your project of life.  Once again, apologies.”

Before leaving the hall, Valentina warned that her struggle has not ended.  “It continues because those responsible are still out there; they still are where they should not be.  But we have advanced a bit and there is hope.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alejandro Poiré Romero, Secretario de Gobernación, durante el acto de Reconocimiento de Responsabilidad del Estado Mexicano, Caso Valentina Rosendo Cantú (Presidencia de la República, 15 December 2011)

“Tienen que reconocer que dije la verdad” (El Universal, 14 December 2011)

Caso Valentina Rosendo: Estado reconoce responsablidad (El Universal, 15 December 2011)

Reconoce Estado mexicano responsabilidad pública en caso Rosendo Cantú (La Jornada, 15 December 2011)

Con un “usted disculpe”, el Estado admite responsabilidad ante Valentina Rosendo (La Jornada de Guerrero, 15 December 2011)

Pide Gobernación perdón a Valentina (Milenio, 16 December 2011)

Acto de Reconocimiento Público. Caso Valentina Rosendo Cantú (15 December 2011)

“Usted disculpe”, dice gobierno a indígena violada por militares hace nueve años (Proceso, 15 December 2011)

El secretario de Gobierno, Humberto Salgado, refrendó el compromiso de la administración de Ángel Aguirre de respetar los derechos humanos y la democracia (Gobierno del estado de Guerrero, 15 December 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: NGO informs US authorities regarding Mexico’s obligations under Mérida Initiative (26 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: NGO demands that Calderón observe sentence in case of Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández (28 November 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: Judge acquits attacker of Radio Ñomndaa Committee member; Interior Ministry evades compliance with sentencing in the case of Inés and Valentina (4 February 2011)

Guerrero – briefs: NGO requests that Calderón observe sentence in cases of Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández; lawsuit on land between communities of Guerrero and Oaxaca; government announces installation of Commission of Truth and Tita Radilla receives recognition

November 28, 2011

Tita Radilla. Foto @CentroProdh

On 22 November, at least 79 national and international organizations as well as intellectuals demanded that President Felipe Calderón make effective his commitment to observe the sentences of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, indigenous Guerrero women who were raped by soldiers in 2002.  In their letter to Calderón, the NGOs stress that in accordance with the IACHR ruling in the cases of these women, the act of public recognition of responsibility “is one of the central measures of reparation,” above all for the victims.  It has to do with, they say, a “solemn and public event in which the State would recognize the truth of the denunciation of the victims and reaffirm publicly the commitment of the State to respecting human rights, non-discrimination, and the struggle against violence against women.”  They insist that the sentences of the IACHR must be observed in their totality and, in the case of the act of recognition of responsibility, the tribunal has noted that “the modality and content of the event, the presence of authorities, the space in which it will be carried out and the date of its realization should be agreed to in accordance” previously with the relatives of the victims.

In other news, on 22 November, Carlos Moreno Derbez, president of the Junta for Agrarian Conciliation, reported that the Mexican Army and the state police are patrolling the zone between the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca to avoid that there be new violent events there.  Moreno Derbez noted that the Oaxacan population of Jicaral finds itself settled on the border region with Guerrero, due to “having received authorization to occupy land in the ejidal property of Jicayan de Tovar,” in Guerrero.  The Mixtecos of Jicaral, a community that pertains tot he municipality of Coicoyán de Las Flores, reject the idea that they should have to abandon the land, while the ejidatarios of Jicayán de Tovar–who pertain to Tlacoachistlahuaca, Guerero–reject the sale of these lands and on the contrary seek to recover them.  The conflict between the Mixteco peoples of Jicaral and Jicayán is for the possession of between 100 and 150 hectares, and it has already left 2 dead and 3 injured this year.  The latest killed was a communard from El Jicaral, who was killed during the morning of 21 November in an attack by residents of Jicayán del Tovar.

Lastly, also on 22 November, there was presented in the local Congress the advances of the legal initiative to create a Commission of Truth, and it was announced that this would deal only with the disappearances and executions committed in the state between 1969 and 1979, a period known as the Dirty War, but would exclude the massacre of Aguas Blancas (1995), for which ex-governor Rubén Figueroa Alocer has been found responsible, and that of El Charco (1997), to which the present governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero has been linked, as was announced.  The same day, in a ceremony held in London, Peace Brigades International and the Alliance in Favor of Lawyers at Risk awarded a recognition to Tita Radilla, daughter since 1974 of the disappeared social activist Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, “in recognition of her courage and commitment to human rights in Mexico.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Exigen ONG a Calderón cumplir con sentencias de la CoIDH (Proceso, 21 November)

Carta a Calderón de OSC (Cencos, 22 November)

Militares y policías patrullan zona limítrofe entre Oaxaca y Guerrero(Proceso, 22 November)

Matan a comunero de Oaxaca por tierras (La Jornada, 22 November)

Comisión de la Verdad de Guerrero nacerá acotada, admiten promotores (La Jornada, 23 November)

Tita Radilla recibe reconocimiento internacional (La Jornada, 23 November)

Tita Radilla recibe premio de derechos humanos en Londres (CentroProdh, 23 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – briefs: NGO informs US authorities regarding Mexico’s obligations under Mérida Initiative (26 November)

Guerrero – briefs: State accepts responsibility in Radilla case in absence of relatives (27 November)

Guerrero: The IACHR’s sentence in the Cabrera García and Montiel Flores is published

June 20, 2011

Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera @ El Universal

The Secretary of Governance (Segob) published on Tuesday 7 June in the Official Diary of the Federation (DOF) the sentence handed down by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the case of Cabrera García and Montiel Flores against Mexico, in which this international organism condemned the Mexican State and demanded that it pay reparations due to the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of these two.  The sentence finds the state responsible for the abuses directed against Teodoro Cabrera García and Rodolfo Montiel Flores while they found themselves detained in the custody of Army soldiers.  Furthermore, due to the lack of expeditious presentation before a judge and for the irregularities throughout the legal process.  The IACHR finds the Mexican State guilty of having engaged in insufficient investigations into denunciations of torture, as well as the use of military courts within the investigation of human-rights violations committed in 1999.

These two ecologist-campesinos who worked to halt illegal logging in the sierra of Petatlán were detained by the army on 2 May 1999 in Pizotla, Guerrero, and were subjected to five days of torture and abuse before being presented to a judge who found them guilty of carrying firearms and cultivating marijuana.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gobierno mexicano acata fallo de la Corte IDH por caso campesinos ecologistas, EPA-European Pressphoto Agency, 7 June 2011

Estado mexicano publica sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por caso de campesinos ecologistas, Periodismo transversal, 8 June 2011

Cabrera García y Montiel Flores vs México 26 de noviembre de 2011, SEGOB, 7 June 2011

Sentencia de la CIDH caso Cabrera García y Montiel Flores vs. México, 26 November 2010

Publican en el DOF sentencia de CIDH, La Jornada, 8 June 2011
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: briefs – New threats against leaders of the OPIM; inclusion of resources for La Parota in federal budget; Invitation to the sixth anniversary of Radio Ñomndaa (14 December 2010)

Guerrero: briefs – NGOs present amicus brief to Inter-American Court on case of environmentalists; activist is detained (September 23, 2010)

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)

Guerrero: Before the Inter-American Court, the Mexican government denies that the military raped Inés Fernández

April 27, 2010

On the 15th of April, in Lima, Perú, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights listened to the final oral testimonies of the case of Fernández Ortega vs. México (personal integrity and access to justice). Inés Fernández is an indigenous activist from Guerrero who reported being raped by Mexican military forces in 2002. Before the Court, representatives of the Mexican government responded to the allegations by stating that Fernández was lying. The director general of Human Rights and Democracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alejandro Negrín, who represents the Mexican state, affirmed “we deny the accustation, since there is no evidence.”

Gisela de León, lawyer from the Center for Justice and International Law (Cejil), who is part of the legal defense team for Fernández, said it was “grave” that the government did not recognize the crime, ” despite all the evidence.”  Council stressed that, in addition to the testimony of Fernández, there was that of her children, who were present during the events. Additionally, a medical test was done that confirmed the presence of semen in her body and a psychological examination that also showed Fernández  had suffered a traumatic event. Council also recalled that they can confirm the military presence during the date and time of the crime.

The legal representatives of the state and of Fernández have until the 24th of May to present written closing arguments, after which the Inter-American Court will consider the case and issue its decision.

For more information (in Spanish):

Before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, authorities claim that indigenous woman who claimed to have been raped by soldiers is lying (La Jornada, 16 April)