Impunity / Mexico

WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón made a commitment to the IAPA in 2010 to strengthen the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression in order to prevent the impunity that prevails in cases of attacks against journalists, but he did not provide it with manpower nor budget sufficient for it to perform its functions. WHEREAS, the General Prosecutor of the Nation (PGR), Marisela Morales, expressed to representatives of the IAPA that she would push for investigations on crimes and disappearances of journalists to prevent the continuation of impunity, but the reform of the Organic Law of the PGR means a regression, since it weakens the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression by taking it away from her office (PGR) and making it once again a dependency of the Sub Prosecutor’s Office on Human Rights, where it had been between 2006 and 2010, where it showed no results. WHEREAS, President Calderón made a commitment to the IAPA two years ago to review personally the resolutions of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the murders of Héctor Félix Miranda and Manuel Oropeza, but his administration, which is coming to an end, has not complied with the decisions of that organization WHEREAS President Calderón made a commitment to the IAPA in 2010 to federalize crimes against freedom of expression and it was only last March that a constitutional change was passed in Art., 73, part XXI, but the proposal for enabling regulation for the law has not yet been sent to Congress to allow this reform to go into effect WHEREAS President Calderón announced that he would create a mechanism of protection for journalists that would attend to serious threats, including removing the journalists from the country if necessary, but in spite of the fact that the Law on Protection of Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists, has already been passed, and four months have gone by to constitute its council and all the structure needed, so far it has not been implemented. WHEREAS the creation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression did not result in a reduction of impunity in cases of attacks committed against communicators and the media WHEREAS the cases of most serious attacks against journalists continue to be spread among state prosecutor’s offices and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic (PGR), the Sub Prosecutor’s Office Specializing in Organized Crime (SIEDO) and the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression, instead of having all of the cases concentrated in this latter organ in an integral manner to avoid impunity. WHEREAS during the administration of President Felipe Calderón direct attacks began against media facilities with hand grenades, shooting of firearms, Molotov cocktails, public exhibition of grotesque murders or of hanging blankets containing threats, and in spite of these facts, neither the PGR nor state prosecutors have detained and sent to justice anyone responsible for the twenty-eight cases reported between 2007 and 2012 WHEREAS over the past six years the numbers of murders, disappearances, and abductions of journalists have increased, without demonstration by federal and state authorities of real political will, interest, and investigative capacity to solve the cases, nor even the ability to provide clear and timely information WHEREAS the violence that criminal organizations carry out in the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Zacatecas, Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí, Colima, Tabasco, Michoacán, Guerrero and especially in the state of México, has provoked an increase in threats, abductions, and murders against journalists and media and self-censorship prevails; the dislocation of journalists to other cities or countries shows that in Mexico conditions do not exist for full exercise of freedom of expression. WHEREAS there persists a lack of will on the part of state and federal authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for crimes against eighteen journalists who are at risk of having the statute of limitations expire, something that only state and federal governments can prevent and offer real justice to Jesús Michel Jacobo, Felipe González Hernández, Manuel Burgueño Orduño, Linda Bejarano, Ezequiel Huerta Acosta, Alberto Ruvalcaba Torres, Alfredo Córdova Solórzano, Lázaro Cárdenas, Alejandro Campos Moreno, Juvencio Arenas Gálvez, Gabriel Venegas Valencia, Roberto Antonio Mancilla Herrera, José Herrera Cañas, Jessica Elizalde de León, Abel Bueno León, Víctor Hernández Martínez, Margarito Morales Ramírez and Pedro Valle Hernández WHEREAS THE Sub Prosecutor’s Office Specializing in Organized Crime of the PGR (SIEDO) has under its jurisdiction cases of attacks on journalists that date from more than ten years ago, such as the murders of Francisco Ortiz Franco and Velentín Valdés Espinosa, or the disappearance of Alfredo Jiménez Mota and María Esther Casimbe, without any evident interest to date in solving them WHEREAS the state of Veracruz is where the most crimes and disappearances have occurred in the country over the past six months; of the six murders in Mexico, five of them were in that state and this past August the Prosecutor’s Office of the state announced that it had solved four of these crimes, but finally the PGR did not indict the supposed criminals for lack of evidence WHEREAS in this six-month period Marco Antonio Ávila García, a reporter for the Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional of Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, was also murdered, and in addition the whereabouts are unknown of Zane Plemmons, an independent photographer who disappeared in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state in May; and of Federico Manuel García Contreras, a graphic reporter for the newspaper El Punto Crítico, of San Luís Potosi, without any progress on the cases in the prosecutor’s offices WHEREAS in various state prosecutor’s offices there exist open cases on disappearances or murders of journalists that have not been solved and that were committed as long as fifteen years ago, and are still awaiting justice WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says: “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 68th IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES To demand that the new Mexican government, from the very beginning of its term, provide the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression with real authority and investigative ability, with monetary resources and trained personnel in order to allow for a solid organization that investigates and solves these cases in a serious way, making use of the technological resources available To reiterate to Prosecutor Marisela Morales to push along the new Organic Law of the PGR in order for it to include the administrative structure of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression To exhort that President Felipe Calderón and president-elect Enrique Peña produce instructions to the Secretariat of Governance and Foreign Relations so that it may attend to the IACHR resolutions in an immediate manner. To urge President Calderón, the Secretariat of Governance, and the Federal Congress to pass full enabling legislation for constitutional Art. 73, so that the federalization of crimes committed against freedom of expression may go into effect To demand that President Calderón and the Secretariat of Governance guarantee a dependable mechanism to protect journalists and defenders of human rights To demand that Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression, Angelina Borbolla Moreno,investigate the cases that she has under her jurisdiction in an agile and impartial way and offer timely results in the cases of murders and disappearances of journalists To demand that General Prosecutor and the prosecutors of the states of Coahuila, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Yucatán, Sonora, Nayarit, Veracruz, Morelos, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León show clear, timely, and convincing results in the investigations on attacks upon facilities of the communications media, bringing to justice those responsible, so that they may serve as examples to prevent continued repetition of these events. To urge the state to implement an integral, rational strategy in dealing with crimes against journalists, and thus guarantee their free work in the country, so that the violent groups may not continue threatening and attempting to subjugate the communicators To demand that the Mexican state implement a strategy immediatelythat will allow attending to and resolving the dislocation of journalists who, because of threats and intimidation, find themselves obliged to abandon their places of origin To demand that the PGR and the prosecutors of the states of Sinaloa, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Jalisco, Baja California, Distrito Federal and Michoacán not permit the statute of limitations to affect cases of murder, disappearance and murder threats against journalists, but rather, on the contrary, that they work so that real justice can be done, and that the prosecutors of the remaining states,Tamaulipas, Durango, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Chiapas, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Sonoranot allow cases of attacks against journalists that are under their jurisdiction to continue in impunity To demand that the General Prosecutor’s Office not permit more delay in resolution of the cases that have languished since the 1990s that are under the jurisdiction of the SIEDO To urge the government of Veracruz to order the state prosecutor’s office to investigate cases of murder and disappearances of journalists that have occurred in that state in a rapid and complete manner To ask the prosecutors’ offices of Sonora, Tamaulipas y San Luis Potosí that they investigate urgently cases of murder and disappearance that have occurred in this period in those states To demand that President Calderón and the General Prosecutor of the Republic, Marisela Morales, before completing their terms, provide a clear, precise, and truthful report on the investigations into murders and disappearances of journalists under their jurisdiction.