Investigations into femicides preceded by disappearance, carried out by the Attorney General of the State of Mexico (FGJEM), present serious deficiencies due to the inaction and negligence of the authorities, which has led to the loss of evidence , that not all lines of research are examined and that the gender perspective is not correctly applied. Such shortcomings hamper the judicial process and increase the likelihood that cases will go unpunished, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.
Trial to Justice. Deficiencies in the criminal investigations of femicides preceded by disappearance in the State of Mexico establishes that the aforementioned shortcomings coincide with those of other investigations that have been revealed by civil society organizations and by rights holders, and with cases such as the femicides in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, which occurred more than 20 years ago. This suggests that femicidal violence and the deficiencies in its investigation and prevention are part of a broader reality in the country.
“State authorities must prevent, investigate and punish femicides with due diligence. As part of the Mexican State, they are obliged to comply with international treaties to which Mexico is a party, including the Conventions of Belem do Pará or CEDAW, and the sentences issued against the Mexican State by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH). ), which establish a set of norms, standards and principles to guarantee the rights of women,” said Edith Olivares Ferreto, Executive Director of Amnesty International Mexico.
“The impact of each femicide is terrible on the families of the victims, who, in their search for access to the truth, justice and reparation for the damage, also suffer revictimization from the authorities. For this reason, we continue to insist that the issue of violence against women occupy a priority place on the agenda of the federal government and local governments,” said Edith Olivares Ferreto.
In 2020 alone, there were 3,723 violent deaths of women in Mexico, of which 940 were investigated as femicides by the country's 32 federal entities, without a single entity free of femicides.
In the report, Amnesty International documented four emblematic cases of femicide preceded by disappearance, specifically analyzing the deficiencies in criminal investigations into them. The cases were those of Nadia Muciño Márquez, assassinated in 2004; Daniela Sánchez Curiel, disappeared in 2015 and her whereabouts are still unknown, and whose family presumes that she was a victim of femicide; Diana Velázquez Florencio, disappeared and murdered in 2017; and Julia Sosa Conde, disappeared and murdered at the end of 2018.
The report shows that the state authorities do not properly inspect the scene of the events; they do not properly safeguard the collected evidence; and they do not carry out expert tests or procedures, causing the loss of data, objects or substances and testimonies.
The authorities do not always examine all lines of investigation and their lack of action leads the families of the victims –generally women– to assume the leadership of the investigations investing their own resources. There are also cases in which the authorities threaten and harass families so that they do not call the attention of their superiors. Likewise, the authorities do not always apply the gender perspective throughout the criminal process, which contravenes the protocols for the investigation of violent deaths of women.
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The report also shows that the FGJEM authorities do not have the necessary conditions to carry out the investigations, due to an overload of work and lack of material inputs to carry out some tasks. Additionally, the staff must pay, with their own means, part of the material necessary to carry out the investigations and the offices do not have adequate deposits to safeguard the evidence, favoring its contamination and destruction. FGJEM staff require more specialized training to carry out adequate investigations.
The deficiencies detected in the investigations imply a violation of the women's human rights to life, personal integrity, judicial protection for the families of the victims, and access to justice. To protect the rights of victims, Amnesty International recommends:
In parallel to the publication of the report, Amnesty International launched the #HastaSerEscuchadas campaign, with the aim of having the authorities publicly acknowledge the deficiencies they have committed in the investigations of femicides, comply with the recommendations made by the movement and begin the process of repairing the damage caused by said deficiencies.
“At Amnesty International we will continue to raise our voices together with the families of the victims, accompanying them in their search for truth, justice and reparation for the damage, until they are heard,” said Edith Olivares Ferreto.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Alejandro Juárez Gamero (Amnesty International Mexico): [email protected]ía.org.mx
Duncan Tucker (Amnesty International Americas): [email protected]