GIEI for Ayotzinapa: Second report

29 Abr
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Foto: German Canseco/ Revista Proceso

 

After reporting obstruction, intimidation and bullying from the Mexican government, the Grupo Interamericano de Expertos Independientes (Interamerican Group of Independent Experts, GIEI) gave its second report on their investigation and expert’s opinion on the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College on the night of September 24th, 2014.

Discrepancies and confrontations with the Mexican Government (which is clung with their own “historical truth”) marked the work year of the experts group which, in the previous weeks, has been subject to a smear campaign driven by the highest political groups seeking to strengthen their official “hypothesis” and to promote the protection of the involved politicians.

Since the forced disappearance and possible homicide of the students by both the Mexican Government and their organized crime allies, the Attorney General of Mexico, as well as the Presidency of the country, have done nothing but to hinder the investigations and to present planted evidence in an attempt to silence the case and to make people forget the massacre.

Some of the conclusions obtained by the GIEI and presented in this second report included that:

  1. There is no evidence that the students were organized to boycott any political act, as it was first stated by the Government in an attempt to justify their actions against the students.
  2. The GIEI found no evidence that the students were part of or were involved with criminal parties, as was alleged by the Mexican Government in several occasions. The authorities of Iguala were aware that they were students that would use buses to transport people for the demonstrations commemorating the students protest against the government’s actions on 2 October, 1968 (which was another massacre of students orchestrated by the Federal Government).
  3. The government/organized crime massacre of Ayotzinapa derived in 180 direct victims and 700 affected relatives, was performed in 9 different locations with the use of violence and weapons, it lasted for 4-5 hours and had direct participation of two different police force squads (those from Iguala and Cocula) and the probable participation of agents from security groups from Iguala and nearby regions.
  4. The document from the GIEI states that authorities at different levels were aware of what was going on in real time. They were informed when the students arrived nearby the city of Iguala, and when they entered the city. The movement was controlled by State Police officers, by Federal Police officers and by the Army from 18:00 hrs when they left Chilpancingo until 20:30 hrs. By that time, they were still outside the city of Iguala.
  5. 5) The report also showed the omission (from the beginning of the investigation until GIEI arrived into the case) on information regarding a fifth bus that was taken by the students and was not being investigated. Later on, the official versions became contradictory and failed to explain all the facts. That fifth bus (from Estrella Roja) left the bus station from the back door, stopped before leaving Chilpancingo, and was later required to stop by Federal Police agents nearby the Palace of Justice, where an arbitrary detention and aggressions by Local Police agents were carried out to students aboard Estrella de Oro bus 1531. Students aboard the fifth bus survived but suffered persecution and were shot by local policemen with participation of a ministerial patrol (according to witnesses) for three hours before they could run away and reach a safe place. The opacity and reluctance of authorities around the existence of this fifth bus, the evident contradictions in the witness report from the bus driver, and a signed letter confirming the version of the students were decisive in GIEI posing a hypothesis that should be further investigated, that questioning the possibility of that bus being a transport for heroin produced in the region, which would explain the amount and type of squads blocking the buses, the checkpoints in the highway shown in the investigation report, as well as the increasing level of violence against the students, the forced disappearance of them and the massive attack against the local soccer team Los Avispones (The Hornets) bus.

New facts added to the abovementioned evidence including:

  1. An extension of the control on the mobility on the Iguala-Chilpancingo highway to Sábana Grande, where a roadblock was done with the aid of a trailer and some cars at 00:00 hrs, only 3 Km away from the crossroad of Santa Teresa where the Hornets bus and at least other four vehicles were attacked, with a balance of three civil casualties and a number of seriously injured persons.
  2. The involvement of several patrols in the attack perpetrated against the Hornets bus, which ran away from the place at 23:45 hrs using the same road that leads to Santa Teresa but also to nearby communities such as Apipiculco, Huitzuco and Pololcingo.
  3. The mobilization of a Huitzuco Police squad (comprising around 25 police agents and six patrols) to apparently perform a checkpoint on the road at the junction of Pololcingo, without any stated reason. That task was performed during the key hours of that night, at the time when the attacks to the Hornets and the students’ buses were committed. According to their log, the police patrols went out from 23:00 hrs through 1:40 hrs. Huitzuco policemen were aware of the incidents against the students in Iguala.
  4. The existence of a roadblock on the highway in Mezcala for about two hours, between 00:00 hrs and 2:00 hrs, and the attack to two vehicles resulting in two injured civilians. This attack would have been performed by armed men presumably part of the organized crime and carrying high-caliber weapons.
  5. The control on the mobility on the Iguala-Chilpancingo highway was maintained all night long. At 2:00 hrs of the next day the roadblock in Mezcala was finally freed by a convoy of State authorities, State police squads and Federal agents. Witnesses declared that it was only after 5:00 – 6:00 hrs when control of the road was released and the threats from local officers to avoid circulation in that section of the road ceased.
  6. Another roadblock with a trailer was carried out in the Sábana Grande area, nearby the junction of Santa Teresa and was maintained during a limited time (until the Hornets bus attack finished), and was removed by the perpetrators without further intervention. This would be indicative of the blockers knowledge on the outcome of the attack in Santa Teresa, and their actions would be directed to block the road for the bus. Again, the people at the roadblock were civilians carrying high-caliber weapons and driving latest-model trucks.
  7. To GIEI experts, the actions reveal a modus operandi directed to prevent the escape of the buses. The roadblock in Mezcala would complete the picture, and the fact that this roadblock was maintained for a longer time when compared to that in Sábana Grande would only respond to the fact that there is no signal in the Mezcala region and thus, no results on the outcome of the attacks would be available to the blockers. New data show an even higher number of people involved in the case, mainly in blocking the highway and all access to the region where the attacks occurred, and it supports the fifth bus hypothesis pointed out in the first GIEI report.

In the last part of the second GIEI report, the experts group set a number of recommendations on the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case:

  • To keep formalities and bureaucracy to a minimum.
  • To improve the quality and methods regarding the statements by witnesses/indictees.
  • To increase the value of objective expert evidence.
  • To redesign institutional procedures to gain independence from the Attorney General of Mexico office.
  • To increase the analytic capabilities of the tests.
  • To include human rights violations and crimes as part of the investigation.
  • To avoid human rights violations to be processed under the category of “organized crime”.
  • To value the quality of the investigation on the number of indictees.
  • To integrate all the inquiries, to avoid the fragmentation of the legal processes.
  • To promote a periodic information system for the victims.
  • To demand public communications freely available in order to avoid filtering by the Attorney General of Mexico.
  • To warrant access to all sources of information and to potentiate all lines of investigation on the case.
  • To investigate and prosecute eventual upper-level politicians and not only perpetrators.
  • To implement technologic media usage in the search for the missing students.
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