Feb 2, 2008

International court to hear Juarez cases

Guadalupe Morfin Otero

If you know something contact the FBI/El Paso police toll free line at (800)237-0797

Copyright (c) 2007, 2008 Peace Books, LLC

- IACH press release
- Interview with Diana Washington Valdez (international trials for officials and drug lords)
- Activist rescues student from sexual assault

Washington, December 10, 2007 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) submitted two cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in November, one against Mexico .... On Nov. 4, 2007, the IACHR filed an application with the Inter-American Court against the United States of Mexico in cases 12.496, 12.497 and 12.498, Campo Algodonero: Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal and Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez. Mexico accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court in 1998. This case is based on the denial of justice in the disappearance and murders of Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal and Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez (two of whom are minors), in Ciudad Juárez, state of Chihuahua; the lack of prevention policies in these cases, despite the state authorities’ awareness of a pattern of violence against women and girls in Chihuahua; the failure of authorities to respond to these disappearances; the lack of due diligence in the investigation of the homicides; and the lack of adequate reparations to their families.(-)

Interview by Kelly McKenzie

Q: Diana, you said several years ago, and you wrote in your book, that the families of the femicide victims had to seek justice through an international tribunal, and not through the Mexican government. Is this the kind of development you had in mind?

A: Yes, someone has to make the state (the government) responsible for the lack of justice, the lack of safety, and for the corruption that impeded a genuine judicial solution to the crimes. I also advocated going further - trying the high-level officials and politicians who were in office when these crimes began and continued. We're talking about presidents, governors and mayors. There's a chapter in my book "The Pact," which alleges that the very top levels of government protected some of the killers. Below them, we are talking attorneys general and other high-level officials. Negligence and or complicity. The elements are there. According to the laws of Chihuahua state, the statute of limitations for homicides expires after 14 years. The government needs to get rid of the statute of limitations for homcide, but has not done so. Of course, this benefits the killers.

Q: Does the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have jurisdiction in the case of Hester Van Nierop, a citizen of the Netherlands?

A: I don't believe so, bu the Hague probably does. I know her family has been working with sympathetic members of the European Parliament, and Mexican officials have been busy lobbying the Parliament to prevent any sanctions against Mexico.

Q: What should happen next?

A: It is urgent for the authorities to guarantee the safety of the families involved in these three cases. Their perserverance has come at a great price.

Q: What do you think of Guadalupe Morfin Otero being named federal prosecutor for trafficking and violent crimes against women in Mexico?

A: She is an intelligent and astute person. She is a former human rights advocate and probably means well. It helps that the new laws give her the authority to "investigate;" however, she faces enormous hurdles. Her office is limited to investigating murders linked to organized crime. While these definitely exist, the resources at her disposal may not be the best.

Q: What do you mean?

A: A Mexican federal official recently shared that the federal attorney general's office (PGR) does not have a single person on staff who possesses the skills to investigate and solve a criminal case. He said there may be a handful of people in all of Mexico, from the Mexico City police and in some of the state law enforcement agencies, who can actually solve a murder. By this, I mean solve a case without resorting to torture or planting evidence, and so forth. This is alarming. This is what Morfin has to work with. She needs an experienced staff to make a small dent in the femicides and human trafficking in all of Mexico.

Q: Hasn't the PGR arrested some important drug lords lately?

A: Yes, but everyone knows it's mostly the DEA or ICE that investigates them. Whenever the DEA has a solid lead, they call up the PGR officials and say to them, "there's your man, now go get him (or her)." Because of all human misery the cartels have caused, the corruption they have fomented, the systematic kidnappings and torture they commit, the drug lords lilke "Chapo" Guzman should be tried too by international courts for human rights abuses. They could be tried in absentia. The U.S. federal government indicted Vicente Carrillo Fuentes for alleged murders; the indictment could serve as a basis for an international tribunal to proceed against him and others. The cartels are an important part of the equation that contributes to the endless and organized violence in Juarez, along the border, the rest of Mexico, Colombia, Central America and other places.

CISO activist rescues Allende school student

JUAREZ, MEXICO -- Cipriana Jurado, a prominent activist, intercepted a sexual assault in progress Thursday night near the Benito Juarez Monument in downtown Juarez.
The victim, a teenager who attends the Allende Preparatory, was accosted by a man while federal and city police watched a protest by a group of activists in the same area.
Jurado saw what was happening to the girl just as the attacker pulled down his pants. Jurado screamed for police to come to the site of the attack.
The unknown assailant heard the screams and ran away without being caught.
Several young girls have disappeared in the vicinity, and some of them had attended the same school or used the bus stops at the park where the monument is located.
Adriana Sarmiento, 15, who was reported missing since Jan. 18, also attended the Allende school.