IACHR MISSION TO MEXICO
January 13, 2003, an international team of experts appointed by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will undertake a mission to
Mexico City. The team
consists of Dr. Pedro Díaz Romero, Dr. Alan John Voth, and Dr. María
Dolores Morcillo Méndez–experts in the areas of criminal, ballistic,
and forensic pathology, respectively.
They will seek to verify part of the technical evidence obtained in
the investigation of the death on October 19, 2001, of the human rights
defender, Attorney Digna Ochoa y Plácido. Said investigation is being
handled by the Office of the Public Prosecutor for the Federal District of
Díaz Romero, an IACHR consultant, is also serving as coordinator of the
international team of experts. Dr.
Alan John Voth, an expert whith the (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), is
participating in the team with the Canadian Government’s collaboration.
For her part, Dr. Morcillo Méndez is a forensic physician from the
National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia.
technical verification was requested by the Government of Mexico and by
the petitioners in case P 12.299 (Digna Ochoa et
al.), which is being processed by the Inter-American Commission. The
IACHR agreed to provide advice in the framework of the functions assigned
to it by Article 41 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
Pursuant to the terms of reference adopted by the IACHR, the
international team of experts will verify whether the technical tests
conducted in the areas of forensics, ballistics, and criminal pathology
were consistent with international standards in the field.
Neither the IACHR nor the international experts are responsible for
determining the circumstances of Attorney Digna Ochoa’s death or for
identifying or prosecuting possible perpetrators as these tasks are solely
within the purview of the Mexican authorities.
Dr. Juan E. Méndez,
President of the IACHR, said the following:
behalf of the IACHR, I am grateful for the Mexican Government’s good
will and the facilities it has provided as well as for the cooperation of
the Canadian Government and the participation of the petitioners.
All of this makes it possible to carry out this technical activity
in the framework of our functions to protect and promote human rights.
experts will not make statements since this is an exclusively technical
study and since the case is still in process and has not yet been decided
on by the Commission. Under
the coordination of Dr. Díaz Romero, they will report on the results of
their technical study to the IACHR, which will consider them in accordance
with the procedure set out in the American Convention and the IACHR
Statute and Rules of Procedure.
January 10, 2003