Impunity / Mexico

WHEREAS fear among journalists and the media of being murdered, caused to disappear, or abducted is greater and greater over a large part of Mexico, something that has reduced reporting space due to the growth of self-censorship or the censorship imposed by criminal groups, their chieftains, or corrupt authorities; and WHEREAS there exists a well-founded suspicion that the crimes against Enrique Perea Quintanilla (2006) and Armando Rodríguez (2008), both committed in the state of Chihuahua, were ordered and had the support of corrupt officials who have manipulated investigations to tie them exclusively to organized crime; and WHEREAS by confirming complicity between organized crime and some officials of the Department of Justice of the state of Chihuahua would explain the fact that none of the twelve crimes against journalists committed in that state have been solved: Jessica Elizalde, 1993; Fernando Martínez Ochoa, 1998; José Ramírez Puente, 2000; José Luis Ortega Mata y José Barbosa Bejarano, 2001; Ernesto Montañés Valdivia y Norberto Miranda Madrid, 2009; Guillermo Alcaraz Trejo y Luis Carlos de Santiago Orozco, 2010; including the paralysis of the case of Victor Manuel Oropeza (1991), about which the ICHR issued a resolution that the Mexican government accepted but has not carried out; and WHEREAS last October the Congress of Chihuahua passed a penal reform that imposes up to 50 years of prison to a murderer of a journalist stemming from his professional work; nevertheless, in that state none of the twelve people responsible for the murders of communicators have been brought to trial; and WHEREAS another example of the gravity of the situation of impunity in Mexico is that nothing is known of the five journalists from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, who have remained under the control of abductors since February of this year; authorities of that state and of the federation have shown no progress at all in the investigations; and WHEREAS officials of the General Prosecutors’ Office of Justice of the Federal District have said that “they have no record whatsoever of journalists in the Federal District from 1988 to 1998”: Linda Bejarano, Juvencio Arenas, Gabriel Venegas, José Herrera Cañas, Víctor Hernández Martínez, Luis Mario García y Claudio Cortés García; and WHEREAS the General Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic continues to fail to solve cases of attacks on journalists and the media that it has under its charge, both in the SIEDO itself and in the Special Prosecutor’s Unit, as well as in regional offices of the institution, with cases that date from 1997 to the present time; and WHEREAS the General Prosecutors’ Office of Justice in the state of Tabasco has worked on cases under its jurisdiction, but it has still not carried out apprehension orders issued by a judge against those responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of journalist Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, nor have they determined their whereabouts; and WHEREAS last September President Felipe Calderón made a commitment to restart an initiative for constitutional and legal reform to federalize crimes committed against freedom of expression; and WHEREAS in a mission that the IAPA and the Committee to Protect Journalists carried out, the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, promised that the cases of Mexican journalists would be investigated fully and resolved, and that the Special Prosecutors’ Unit created would be strengthened and would fulfill its purpose, and also that a preventive system would be created to meet threats and risks of journalists in Mexico; and WHEREAS last September, the General Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic maintained to the IAPA and the CPJ that it had arrested one of the accomplices in the murder of journalist Armando Rodríguez, showing optimism in having detained the instigator of the crime, although there are doubts surrounding his confession; and WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón assured that he would personally review the cases of murder of journalists Héctor Félix Miranda and Víctor Manuel Oropeza, about which the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) had issued a resolution which the Mexican state has failed to comply with for more than ten years; and WHEREAS Principle 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 IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to urge the General Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic to investigate in full the possible participation of federal, state, and municipal authorities in attacks and threats against freedom of expression, specifically in the case of journalists and communications media; to demand that the General Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic, through its Special Prosecutors’ Unit for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression, take on the cases of journalists murdered and disappeared in the state of Chihuahua, in view of the suspicion that officials are involved in those attacks or have manipulated investigations; also, carry out an investigation of the cases that have not moved forward during the past six years; to urge the Congress of Chihuahua, the Judicial Branch of the state and the General Prosecutors’ Office to continue making changes that will allow improvement of the legal framework; to demand that the Special Prosecutors’ Unit for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression and authorities of Tamaulipas to demonstrate an urgent willingness to find the location of the abducted reporters and arrest those parties responsible; to urge the General Prosecutors’ Office of Tabasco to arrest those responsible for the disappearance of journalist Rodolfo Rincón Taracena and to discover his location; to exhort President Felipe Calderón and the national Congress to carry out the constitutional and legal reforms that are underway to federalize crimes committed against journalists and that they strengthened; to demand that the Mexican government develop immediately an integral, clear, and effective strategy so that freedom of expression and the right of society to be informed be guaranteed in the country and, in parallel, that those responsible for attacks on journalists be caught; to demand that the PGR report clearly on investigations that led to the arrest of one of the presumed murderers of journalist Armando Rodríguez, and to inquire about the possible torture to which he was subjected; to urge President Felipe Calderón to fulfill his commitment to attend to the resolutions issued by the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights and that the cases of Héctor Félix Miranda and Víctor Manuel Oropeza be solved satisfactorily.