The warehouse in Tlatlaya where the massacre took place

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has determined that the army summarily executed 15 of the 22 suspects killed in a warehouse in June this year, confirming another case of grave human rights abuse by the security forces, a month after the disappearance of 43 students.

In a report released (pdf) on October 21, the commission determined that seven victims were killed in a shootout with the army, and that another 12 victims -- including two minors -- were executed. Three others had been moved from their initial positions, indicating they were also executed. The CNDH found that the crime scene had been altered "very probably with the intention of feigning that the deaths had occurred in a context of confrontation."

The CNDH also found that personnel from Mexico State's Attorney General's Office tortured and sexually harassed two female survivors of the incident and subjected a third to inhumane treatment.

The report was based on information from federal, state and municipal authorities; witness testimony; visits to the area where the incident occurred; and photographs of the crime scene. 

Eight members of the military -- one lieutenant and seven solders -- have been arrested so far in connection to the June 30 massacre. The army initially claimed that the dead were killed in confrontation after opening fire on soldiers at a warehouse in the town of Tlatlaya, in Mexico State, and that the soldiers rescued three women who were being held hostage there.

InSight Crime Analysis

The CNDH report confirms the widely-held suspicion that not all the deaths were the result of a shootout, as the authorities initially claimed, but that some victims were summarily executed by soldiers. There has been a great deal of international pressure to resolve the case, and the CNDH's revelations are an important step in this direction.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

However, it remains to be seen what actions the Mexican government will take to follow the CNDH's report, a major concern given Mexico's history of impunity for abuses by the military. While the CNDH can make recommendations on actions that the authorities should take, it does not itself have the power to go further than investigating and documenting abuses.

InSight Crime has been tracking deaths of criminal suspects in Mexico at the hands of the security forces for some years, noting the disproportionate ratio of suspects killed to officials killed, which points to a long-standing practice of extrajudicial executions.

Abuses by the security forces are currently the topic of fierce debate in Mexico. In September, 43 students went missing during a protest in Iguala, Guerrero, and local police are accused of handing some of the students to the Guerreros Unidos gang for execution.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.