Header image for news printout

Mexico: UN experts regret impunity for crimes of “dirty war”

GENEVA (29 November 2019) – A group of UN human rights experts* deplored the lack of significant progress in the implementation of the judgement issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 10 years ago, in the case of Radilla Pacheco vs. Mexico.

On 25 August 1974, Mr. Rosendo Radilla Pacheco was illegally arrested and disappeared by members of the Mexican Army. His arrest and enforced disappearance was denounced at the national level and, in the absence of an appropriate response and due diligence by the State, on 23 November 2009 the Inter-American Court issued a judgment against Mexico for serious human rights violations related to the case.

"Forty-five years since the enforced disappearance of Mr. Radilla, and 10 years since the Inter-American Court issued its emblematic decision on this case, Mexico is still far from clarifying the fate and whereabouts of Mr. Radilla and of the hundreds of persons who disappeared during the so called dirty war in Mexico," said the experts.

The experts noted that the perpetrators of these violations have not been brought to justice and deplored the absence of action with respect to individual responsibility. "It is unacceptable that the criminal complaints processed to date have not yet resulted in any charges made against a single person in relation to the enforced disappearance of Mr. Radilla, and the other persons disappeared by State agents in the context of the so called dirty war", said the experts.

The experts also referred to the obligation of the Mexican State to continue the search for Mr. Radilla and other victims of enforced disappearances until their fate and whereabouts are established, in view of the continuing nature of the crime. "The authorities must conduct thorough investigations, provide greater allocation of resources for the search, ensure the involvement of professional forensic teams and the transparency of the search policies, and provide families and their counsel, as well as citizens in general, with information about their work."

The experts also recommended establishing a special mechanism consisting of high-level officials to facilitate the implementation of the judgement.

"We urge the Mexican authorities to abide by the ruling, not only for the Radilla family, but for all those who for decades have been looking for their relatives who were victims of crimes committed by the Mexican State in the 70s and 80s," they said.

Finally, the experts expressed their respect and their solidarity with the victims, including Mr. Radilla's family. "After more than four decades of impunity, the dignified and persistent fight of the families encourages us to join their legitimate demand to obtain justice, to know the truth and find their loved ones, and to keep memory alive," they said.


(*) The UN experts: Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition; Mr. Luciano Hazan (Chair), Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Vice Chair), Mr. Bernard Duhaime, Ms Houria Es-Slami, and Mr. Henrikas Mickevičius (members) of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Mexico

For more information and media requests, please contact: Ms. Gabriela Guzman (+41 22 928 9452 / gguzman@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact:
Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter@UN_SPExperts. 

Concerned about the world we live in?

Then STAND UP for someone's rights today.

#Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org