Torture, “Disappearance,” and Extrajudicial
Execution in Mexico
Copyright © January 1999 by Human Rights Watch.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 98-83148
I. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
II. PERSISTENT VIOLATIONS IN A CHANGING MEXICO
III. HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN MEXICO
IV. MEXICO’S INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS
V. TORTURE AND EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION IN
VI. TORTURE AND EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION IN
VII. “DISAPPEARANCES” AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
VIII. IMPUNITY AND PUNISHMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MEXICO
IX. THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Joel Solomon, research director for the Americas, researched and wrote this report, drawing on information gathered during fact-finding missions to Mexico City and the states of Baja California, Oaxaca, and Tamaulipas between September 1996 and June 1998. Deputy Director for the Americas Anne Manuel, Program Director Cynthia Brown, and Associate Counsel Joanne Mariner edited the manuscript. Human Rights Watch General Counsel Wilder Tayler and Americas division Director José Miguel Vivanco also reviewed the text. We are grateful to Human Rights Watch Americas division Advisory Board members Profs. Alejandro Garro and Paul Chevigny for providing valuable comments on this report. We also owe thanks to Prof. Herman Schwartz for his helpful comments on a very early draft. We are indebted to Víctor Brenes, Marisol López, Pilar Noriega, Digna Ochoa, and Salvador Tinajero, who kindly took the time to review the first three chapters of this report, and to Prof. Miguel Sarre, for his valuable observations on chapter three.
The author would particularly like to thank the many people, both victims and their family members, who shared their painful experiences during interviews. Their courage in the face of injustice animates this report.
Human Rights Watch gratefully recognizes the invaluable support of our Mexican colleagues. From the inception of this project in 1996, Mexican human rights groups have given important feedback on the scope and goals of the report. In addition, they aided tremendously in our field work, generously sharing their contacts, files, and expertise. We owe special thanks to the Reynosa, Tamaulipas-based Center for Border Studies and Promotion of Human Rights and the Tijuana, Baja California-based Binational Center for Human Rights. In Oaxaca, defense lawyer Israel Ochoa helped with cases. The following Mexico City-based groups, listed in alphabetical order, also provided crucial support: the “All Rights for All” Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations, Christian Action to Abolish Torture, the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Center for Human Rights, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, and the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights. In Washington, DC, the Center for Justice and International Law provided important feedback and case-related support.
We would also like to thank the many state and federal government officials who took the time to meet with and provide information to us.