On selective structural impunity

Warehouse scene after soldiers massacre 22 in Tlatlaya

By: Magdalena Gómez

We certainly don’t have good accounts in the application of the constitutional reforms in matters of justice, as the report “From paper to practice,” elaborated by the Centro Pro, the Mexican Institute on Human Rights and Democracy and the Spanish American University documents well. Two days before the report was presented, the Tlatlaya case, which makes up part of that report parte, received new breath. We remember that on June 30, 2014 in the San Pedro Limón warehouse, soldiers shot at 22 civilians that died in the place. The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, its initials in Spanish), in its recommendation number 51/2014, concluded that at least 15 of the 22 killed in an alleged confrontation were executed extra-judicially. Three years after a series of trials, the 14th district court of amparo in criminal matters in Mexico City considered founded the petition for amparo number 545/2017, promoted by the Centro Pro, on behalf of one of the witnesses to the events (Clara Gómez González, mother of one of the women that died in Tlatlaya), in which she pointed out to the ministerial authority the omissions to carrying out an effective and efficient investigation of the facts that happened in Tlatlaya, state of Mexico, as well as the military order that established the abatement of “delinquents in hours of darkness,” directed to the base of operations to which the soldiers involved belonged, the same as that related to the chain of command and unification of the investigation. It was resolved that: “the complainant is right, upon pointing out that the lack of action has wounded fundamental rights, in this case of the victim, as well as to the detriment of the faculties of investigation conferred by constitutional mandate.” At the same time it was determined that, in order to avoid fragmentation of the case, the PGR must integrate all the investigations that it has carried out into a single file.

Erratic justice, most evident dealing with soldiers involved, also has the background that in May 2016, the sixth unitary tribunal, with headquarters in Toluca, ordered due to “lack of elements to process” the release of three soldiers, pointed out as those allegedly responsible for crimes related to the murders and altering of the crime scene. Previously, other soldiers also remained free due to lack of elements.

There are no conditions for investigations of this kind to advance, because the repeated official posture of seeking to extend a mantle of impunity over acts that involve soldiers turns out to be very grave. We didn’t investigate the crimes of October 2, 1968, and more recently Ayotzinapa and Tlatlaya among others. What is demanded is the investigation and delineation of responsibilities in concrete acts and the State strategy consists of asserting that such a demand is an attack on the military institution. Just this year we find a succession of meetings in which Enrique Peña Nieto clothes the Army with expressions like “it has won the affection of Mexicans… Every day the recognition of soldiers and sailors is growing within me.” Finally, he aligned against: “those who disqualify the values of the armed forced out of ignorance or because of fraud,” and he added that: “those who denigrate the armed forces denigrate Mexico.” (La Jornada, 28/3/17)

The Centro Pro already stated that this resolution from the judge must be complied with and the PGR take charge of righting the structural deficiencies in its functioning, and in passing also addressed the risks of Congress approving a Homeland Security Law, without due controls on the deployment of the armed forces in security tasks. In contrast, the President of the Republic argues that said legislation is necessary and that the work of the armed forces is subsidiary and temporary. If we look at the virtual disaster of the system of procuring justice, we don’t see that conditions exist for the alleged temporariness.

Each resolution that profiles a questioning of investigations that involve the military provokes a sort of campaign of vindication or amends, so we should read the posture of the fraction of the PRI in the Chamber of Deputies to the publication of the amparo, with the announcement that the 2018 Budget of Expenditures will include an increase in Army and Navy spending: “We want to strengthen the armed forces, which are a source of national pride; we must care for them and equip them in the broadest sense of the word” (César Camacho Quiroz, PRI coordinator in San Lázaro. La Jornada 8/18/17). This whole environment constitutes strong pressure towards the Judicial Power when anyone of its members decides to fulfill its responsibility and confront in fact the institution that more than procures justice impedes it. Evidence abounds about different cases in the report “From paper to practice.”


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: