By: Magdalena Gómez
In the last report of the Group Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) on the Iguala case, issued April 24 of this year, announced photographs and a video in which Tomás Zerón de Lucio appears at the bed of the San Juan River along with Agustín García Reyes, an alleged member of Guerreros Unidos, in work that was never integrated into the investigation. Consequently the GIEI considered that the head of the el titular de la Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC, its initials in Spanish) of the PGR twisted information about efforts at the San Juan River that was carried out on October 28, 2014. The following day they allegedly found in the very same place some black bags with fragments of bone remains fragments that, after expert testing at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, it was determined that they corresponded to Alexander Mora Venancio, one of the 43 disappeared students. The functionary Zerón unsuccessfully tried to defend himself, because he wanted to involve the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, pointing out that it attended the work, but it was immediately clarified that neither its representative nor any other accompanier went to the San Juan River.
The gravity of the accusation, at least the strong indicia of planting evidence, didn’t merit the slightest insinuation of a resignation so that the full clarification and demarcation of responsibilities would be freely processed, as the parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa students demanded. After intense pressure, it was reported that the Inspector General’s Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) would carry out an internal investigation to determine whether Zerón incurred omissions, alteration of a crime scene, abuse of authority or any other responsibility of an administrative or criminal type, due to having carried out work related to the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students without having given an account of that to the Federal Public Ministry. Faced with zero results from that, the family members broke off dialogue with the PGR last August 18.
Surprisingly, last September 14 Tomás Zerón de Lucio resigned from the leadership of the Criminal Investigation Agency in the PGR, and had also strangely presented his resignation two days before César Chávez Flores, who was in charge of the inspectorate charged with the investigation into the Zerón case. Now he must also explain whether there is a nexus between his conclusions and the resignation of “the person being investigated.” What’s certain is that the head of the PGR accepted Zerón’s resignation without any reference to the internal investigation underway and, in a virtual exoneration, recognized his work at the front of the agency, which integrates three substantive areas of the institution, like the Federal Ministerial Police, the General Coordination of Expert Services and the National Center of Planning, Analysis and Information for the Combat of Crime (Cenapi), strategic areas for the fate of any investigation.
The success that the prosecutor presaged in his personal and professional projects materialized three hours later: President Enrique Peña Nieto designated the ex functionary of the PGR, Tomás Zerón de Lucio, technical secretary of the National Security Council. The Secretary of Governance pointed out that: “the naming is a recognition of his actions and responds to the experience and ability that he has demonstrated in his previous positions.” The following day, at a press conference in the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa students said well that the President gave him an award instead of investigating him, and their lawyers noted concern for the message of impunity, because they had rather demanded his resignation, which ought to be accompanied by the limitation of responsibilities and sanction, in his case. These days the press once again lined up against the GIEI’s expert José Torero, who showed investigative results that reiterate the impossibility of the incineration of the 43 youths, as Murillo Karam maintained during his time. A lot of haziness that doesn’t impede pointing to a pattern of impunity in this and other cases, because Zerón de Lucio resignation is added to that of Enrique Galindo as commissioner general of the Federal Police, which happened in the midst of indications of an extrajudicial execution of 22 people in Tanhuato, Michoacán, which occurred in May 2015, according to a report of the National Human Rights Commission. He resigned without clarifying his responsibility in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca. This pattern is certainly not new; we remember that the massacre in Acteal, Chiapas, motivated the resignation of Emilio Chuayffet as head Governance and justice has not arrived. It does not augur well for the start of the IACHR’s special follow-up mechanism for attending to the recommendations formulated by the GIEI. As this group noted, there are very strong and very high-up interests, determined to impede the clarification of these brutal disappearances.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, September 21, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee