Military and civil authorities reported to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed in Chihuahua, Mexico

Presentation of Report

Murders, torture, sexual violence, and forced disappearances committed by the military against the civilian population in the first phase of the Chihuahua Joint Operation (CHJO) amount to crimes against humanity. The highest authorities responsible for the atrocities committed in Chihuahua still have not been investigated, prosecuted nor punished. The ICC must act.

Mexico, The Hague, 11 June 2018. Today, the signatory organisations presented a report to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) concerning crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican Army during the first phase of the CHJO between 2008 and 2010. According to the findings of the organisations, the atrocities committed in that border state amount to crimes against humanity and therefore should be investigated by the ICC.

According to the document submitted to the ICC, members of the armed forces who took part in the security policy to fight criminal organisations (the war against drugs), with the knowledge of the highest civil and military commands, committed crimes against humanity in the form of murders, torture, grave deprivation of physical liberty, rape, sexual violence, and forced disappearances. The documented cases reveal the existence of a clear organised policy by the authorities against the civilian population. Similarly, the cases demonstrate the use of public resources to commit the crimes, such as, for example, military vehicles to arbitrarily detain citizens, the use of military facilities as premises for torturing the civilian population, and the participation of military medical personnel in these torture practices.

35 cases have been examined to prepare the report. They cover a total of 121 direct victims of crimes that were committed by members of the military in the first phase of the CHJO. The documentation presented by the organizations gives an account of a criminal scene where those most responsible have not been investigated, prosecuted or punished to date.

The ongoing nature of the policy to militarize public security and the armed strategy to tackle criminal organizations – revealed by the recent entry into force of the Internal Security Act – has exponentially increased breaches of human rights and atrocious crimes committed by the armed forces under the protection of the country’s judicial institutions. This means that there is neither the will nor the ability to bring those responsible to trial in Mexico, as stated in the Report.

We, the signatory organizations, appeal to the International Criminal Court to end the impunity surrounding these serious crimes, given the lack of independence and impartiality of the Procurator General’s Office of the Republic as well as the non-existence of genuine national proceedings.
This is the third communication that FIDH, CMDPDH and other organizations have submitted to the ICC, after those presented in respect of the situation in Coahuila and Baja California.

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