Thousands of enforced disappearances in Mexico go unpunished
Guerrero topped the list of states that reported the most cases with 500 victims. Veracruz was second, with 278, followed by Sinaloa, where 130 victims were reported - Photo: Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/EL UNIVERSAL

Thousands of enforced disappearances in Mexico go unpunished

30/08/2018
13:42
Newsroom
Mexico City
Fernando Miranda and Juan Carlos Zavala
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In the past six months, 2,795 people have fallen victim to forced disappearances in Mexico

Five states in Mexico account for 77% of enforced disappearance victims, according to the Executive Commission for Victims Assistance (CEAV).

According to the National Victims Registry database, until July 30th, in addition to all 2,795 victims of enforced disappearance in Mexico, there were other 1,394 direct and indirect disappearances committed by public servers or government agencies, which makes 456 more than the 938 registered in 2017. Out of the total, 768 victims were male and 626 female.

Guerrero topped the list of states that reported the most cases with 500 victims. Veracruz was second, with 278, followed by Sinaloa, where 130 victims were reported. There were 107 victims in Tamaulipas and 61 in Zacatecas. Other states with a significant number of enforced disappearances were Coahuila, with 36; Nuevo León, with 27; Jalisco, 22; Mexico City, 24, and Chihuahua, with 27.

The CEAV’s figures, which have been calculated since 2014, contrast starkly with the number of investigations filed by local attorney generals’ offices and prosecutors. Outside the capital, this crime is rarely pursued, despite the fact that in January, the General Law of Enorced Disappearances and Disappearances Committed by Non-State Actors came into force.

Out of all five states that top the CEAV’s list, Tamaulipas and Sinaloa did not incriminate enforced disappearances and, instead, prosecuted these cases under deprivation of liberty charges. For that reason, neither of them reported open files for enforced disappearance charges, despite being among the states with most victims.

In the case of Veracruz and Zacatecas, which have actually opened investigations under charges of enforced disappearances, the numbers differ significantly from the CEAV’s records. While the commission places Veracruz as the second state with the most victims (278), the state prosecutor has only opened 160 inquiries between 2010 and 2017, 58 of which are being conducted at the federal level.

According to records kept by EL UNIVERSAL, Veracruz has shown the highest number of arrests for this crime, including the arrest of the former secretary of Public Security, Arturo Bermúdez; the former attorney general, Luis Ángel Bravo, and around 20 middle-ranking police officers.

In Zacatecas, according to current reports on the number of charges presented before the prosecutor’s office, there have only been 8 cases since 2012.

The Mexican government has urged state bodies to work in coordination with the Federation, arguing that the lack of prosecution cases for enforced disappearance is a symptom of a poor organization strategy between law enforcement agencies, according to Jaime Rochín del Rincón, executive commissioner of the CEAV.
 

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