The International Federation of Human Rights (Fidh) and the Fray Juan de Larios Human Rights Center (FJdL) – an organization accompanied by PBI – delivered a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 6 July in which they requested an investigation for crimes against humanity committed in the state of Coahuila between 2009 and 2016.
The report was signed by approximately one hundred organizations from Mexican Civil Society and was shared through a Press Conference that took place on 5 July in The Hague, Netherlands. The report is based on testimonies from trials against members of the Zetas drug cartel in San Antonio, Texas, in which they stated that there were cases of collusion between members of this cartel, authorities and state security forces.
The report describes tactics that may have been used by special security forces of the state and which constitute serious crimes, including kidnapping, torture and forced disappearance. The report also talks about the “Allende Massacre” and the crimes committed in the Center for Piedras Negras Prison.
Arbitrary detention, forced disappearance and torture are classified as crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute, which was the foundation for the creation of the ICC. Several international actors have shown concern for what the presence of these crimes would mean for Mexico, including the UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel Treatment – Juan Mendez – as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
On the state level, the State Human Rights Commission of Coahuila (CEDH) has released a recommendation to the group of Special Arms and Tactics of the State Security Commission (GATE) due to complaints about human rights violations.
Similarly the Working Group on Disappeared People in Coahuila (GAT) has published several reports in which the phenomena is put into context.
The Fran Juan de Larios Human Rights Center was founded in 2002 and is located in Saltillo, and accompanies relatives of disappeared people in the state of Coahuila. In addition to their work to defend and promote human rights, they participate in several advocacy efforts on the state and federal level and they have brought the concerns of different collectives and organizations to different international entities. The Center has been accompanied by PBI since 2014.