Impunity - Mexico I

WHEREAS in May 2004 representatives of the state of Baja California and the Mexican government signed an agreement with the Inter American Press Association, under the auspices of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to set up a task force to review the case file on the April 1988 murder of Héctor Félix Miranda WHEREAS Francisco Ortiz Franco, publisher of the weekly Zeta (Baja California) was murdered in June 2004 and the PGR has not arrested anyone for the crime and on August 16 U.S. authorities detained Arturo Villarreal Heredia, alias “El Nalgón,” considered one of the murderers and who will be charged with the crime and then his extradition will be requested WHEREAS three task force meetings have been held, and the Attorney General’s Office of Baja California was nearly six months late in submitting via the Foreign Ministry its technical and legal comments on the records of the investigation into the death of Héctor Félix Miranda and the cover-up of an accessory to the murder, where it concluded that the statute of limitations has expired on all crimes, that the officials involved in the investigation are relieved of any responsibility, and that the work on the case was “adequate” WHEREAS the IAPA reviewed this document, submitted its comments expressing its dissatisfaction, and has yet to receive a response from the Mexican authorities WHEREAS when the IAPA and representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Attorney General’s Office of Chihuahua met in February 2005 to review the case file on the July 1991 murder of Víctor Manuel Oropeza, it became clear that the authorities at the time did not conduct a thorough investigation, evidence was lost, no one looked into the possibility that the murder was related to the victim’s profession, and other lines of the investigation were not taken to conclusion WHEREAS the Attorney General’s Office has since reopened the case and is pursuing all angles of the investigation, though the IAPA is currently unaware of any results of this latest work WHEREAS Article 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to demand that the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Baja California conduct an earnest, thorough, impartial, and effective investigation into anyone who may have been involved in the murder of journalist Héctor Félix Miranda, as well as any officials who may have neglected their duties in enforcing the law and administering justice, and that this crime, like others of this type, have no statute of limitations to demand that the PGR arrest all those responsible for the homicide of journalist Francisco Ortiz Franco and pursue promptly and forcefully the extradition to Mexico of Arturo Villarreal Heredia, alias “El Nalgón,” considered one of the main suspects to demand that the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Baja California not invoke the statute of limitations in the case of Héctor Félix Miranda, that it live up to the international agreements signed by Mexico, and that it get to the bottom of the murder in order that it not go unpunished to encourage the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Chihuahua to solve the murder of journalist Víctor Manuel Oropeza, and to encourage those conducting the investigation so that enough progress is made by the next task force meeting for those responsible, including any masterminds behind the murder, to be identified, arrested, and brought to justice to reiterate its request that the Federal Office of the Attorney General support and bolster the extradition proceedings initiated by the authorities in Chihuahua, so that Samuel de la Rosa Reyes, one of the suspects in the murder, may be found and extradited from the United States.