Impunity - Mexico

IMPUNITY/MEXICO Resolution of the Midyear Meeting Caracas, Venezuela March 28 - 30, 2008 WHEREAS ten journalists have been killed in Tamaulipas state from 1987 until the present, nine of the cases are in the hands of the state attorney general’s office without a single one having been solved and the federal authorities also have had no results in the investigation of the crime against Guadalupe García Escamilla, nor have the rest of the investigations been transferred to their authority as the IAPA has repeatedly requested; WHEREAS seven journalists have been killed in the past 21 years in Chihuahua state and six of the cases are under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general’s office which has had no clear and convincing results; WHEREAS in Chihuahua state the authorities made a commitment to investigate and solve the case of journalist Víctor Manuel Oropeza in response to the resolution of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the attorney general’s office has made no progress in the investigation and plans to close the case despite many efforts by the IAPA to have it thoroughly investigated; WHEREAS in the states México, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Coahuila, Morelos, Guerrero, the Federal District and Jalisco, the attorney general’s offices have 28 case files of kidnappings and crimes against journalists that have not been solved because of their officials’ lack of attention and results and consequent failure to imprison all of those responsible and determine the motives of these incidents; WHEREAS the attorney general’s office of Jalisco knows the identity of two people responsible for the crime against U.S. journalist Philip True, but in negligent fashion has not apprehended them for four years, despite having promised the IAPA on different occasions to put the guilty parties in jail; WHEREAS Michoacán state is a scene of uncertainty for journalists, since they are constantly threatened and pressured by members of organized crime, while local and federal authorities take no firm and forceful action and no case has been solved from 1991 when announcer Lázaro Cárdenas was killed until the present when three more journalists have been killed: Ramiro Ramírez Duarte (1999), Jaime Arturo Olvera Bravo (2006) and Gerardo García Pimentel (2007); and three reporters have disappeared: Jaime Antonio García Apac (2006), Juan Pablo Solís (2007) and Mauricio Estrada Zamora (2007); WHEREAS since 1995 ten journalists have disappeared, most of them since 2003, in what could be part of a strategy by organized crime to cause fear and insecurity among reporters, since during those years these groups unleashed a wave of violence in the country and in the face of this neither the state attorney general’s offices or the Federal Attorney General’s Office has been able to resolve any of these cases: Cuauhtémoc Ornelas Ocampo (Coahuila 1995); Jesús Mejía Lechuga (Veracruz 2003); Alfredo Jiménez Mota (Sonora 2005); Rafael Ortiz Martínez (Coahuila 2006); José Antonio García Apac (Michoacán 2006); Rodolfo Rincón Taracena (Tabasco 2007); Gerardo Paredes and Gamaliel López (Nuevo León 2007); WHEREAS the Federal Attorney General’s Office has jurisdiction for some investigations of the killing of journalists: José Ramírez Puente, Chihuahua April 2000; Guadalupe García Escamilla, Tamaulipas April 2005; Enrique Perea Quintanilla, Chihuahua August 2006; Raúl Gibb Guerrero, Veracruz April 2005; Francisco Ortiz Franco, Baja California June 2004; Bradley Ronald Will, Oaxaca October 2006, y Amado Ramírez Dillanes, Guerrero April 2007, and no information has been released about the progress nor have any of the responsible parties been put on trial; WHEREAS the federal police detained Saul Montes de Orca Morlett, a former ministry police officer in Baja California who currently is identified as the possible chief of a cell of the Arellano Félix cartel in charge of the transport of drugs, street collections, kidnapping, and according to police intelligence there are indications that he may have participated in the attack on Jesús Blancornelas, editor of the weekly Zeta (November 1997) but there is no order for his arrest for this incident although he has held under house arrest for 60 days; WHEREAS in Baja California state there are three unresolved crimes against journalists: Francisco Ortiz Franco (2004), photographer Dante Espartaco Cortés (1995) and the co-editor de Zeta, Héctor Félix Miranda (1988), the last two in the hands of the state attorney general’s office which has shown no clear and satisfactory results, despite the fact that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued three recommendations in 1999 to investigate thoroughly the crime against Félix Miranda which the Mexican government still has not done; WHEREAS the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Journalists of the Federal Attorney General’s Office is an office without a real investigative role or with clear and convincing results since it has no legal authority or human and economic support from the federal government and therefore has made no progress to end attacks on journalists or solve them; WHEREAS The Federal Attorney General’s Office presented a proposal to the Special Committee to Follow Up Attacks on Journalists and the Media of the Chamber of Deputies to put crimes against journalists under federal jurisdiction, although it was not a formal initiative by the Executive Branch, just a working paper to be modified and improved, and the IAPA has been informed that the draft has a dangerous definition of the legal concept of journalist; WHEREAS principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, 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 MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to demand that the Tamaulipas state attorney general’s office solve all the cases in its jurisdiction: (Rubén Calderon Esquire 1997; Mario Morales Palacios 1999; Luis Roberto Cruz Martínez y Pablo Pineda Gauging 2000; Saul Martínez Gutierrez 2001; Félix Fernandez García, 2002; Roberto Mora García y Francisco Arabia 2004, and Ramón Tellez Contreras 2006) ,in a clear and effective way, because the lack of justice and application of the law has favored impunity in that state, which is listed as the most violent one against the media and where there is no protection for news work; to demand that the federal government take over the investigations of killing of journalists of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Michoacán in the face of the lack of results and possible complicity of local authorities in blocking the solving of these cases; to insist that the federal Attorney General’s Office make a commitment to fulfill its constitutional and legal obligation to do justice in the cases of killings of journalists in their jurisdiction and in cases where there have been no results, make known what happened in each case and see that those responsible are put on trial; to urge the Chihuahua attorney general’s office to fulfill its constitutional responsibility and solve all the cases of killings of journalists (Jessica Elizalde 1993; Fernando Martínez Ochoa 1998; José Ramírez Puente 2000; José Luis Ortega Mata and José Barbosa 2001) and imprison those responsible; to energetically urge the Mexican government to quickly, clearly and effectively fulfill the agreement reached in the working meeting about the cases of journalists Manuel Oropeza and Héctor Félix Miranda and in that way show respect and follow once and for all the recommendation of the ICHR, setting aside the possibility of closing the cases; to urge the prosecutors of the states of México, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Coahuila, Morelos, Guerrero, the Federal District and Jalisco to review their files and resume the investigations of the kidnappings and killings of journalists so they can be solved in an effective and forceful way; to demand that the Jalisco state attorney general’s office act effectively to fulfill its obligation to apprehend again those responsible for the crime against journalist Philip True; to urge the attorney general’s offices of Coahuila, Veracruz, Michoacán, Tabasco and Nuevo León as well as the federal Attorney General’s Office to concentrate their efforts on finding the reporters who have disappeared and determine what happened in each case; to urge the federal Attorney General’s Office to, after 11 years, show convincing results in the investigations of the attack on Jesús Blancornelas, editor of the weekly Zeta, and not extradite to the United States the alleged drug trafficker Saúl Montes de Oca Morlett without first putting him on trial in this case; to demand that the Mexican government and Congress to provide sufficient legal authority, human and material resources to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Journalists of the federal Attorney General’s Office, so it can truly and thoroughly investigate kidnappings, threats and killings of journalists in the country, and stop being an ineffective office; to request that the Chamber of Deputies provide a broad space for thorough discussion about necessary constitutional and legal changes to create better conditions to prevent, deal with and solve cases of journalists who are threatened, kidnapped and killed in Mexico, so it can result in a serious and effective reform.