In a historic decision Mexican Supreme Court of Justice recognized that Urgent Actions issued by the UN are binding and mandatory for all State authorities responsible of searching and investigating missing persons cases

• The Resolution is the first decision in the world where a supreme judicial court recognizes the mandatory nature of Urgent Actions issued by the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearance
• The Resolution sets a precedent to comply with more than 450 cases of Urgent Actions of missing persons ordered to the Mexican State

Today the ministers of the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice unanimously approved the lawsuit number 1077/2019 related to the Enforced Disappearance of Víctor Álvarez Damián who forcibly disappeared on December 11, 2013, in Veracruz´s port. They pronounced on the mandatory nature of Urgent Actions, a mechanism established in Article 30 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and promotes that States take immediate actions for the search and localization of missing persons.

Its adoption sends a clear message to the State authorities (Prosecutor’s Offices, Search commissions and Victim attention commissions) to carry out diligent work in searching and investigating missing persons cases and ordering compliance with the determinations made by the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances (CED).

IDHEAS’s director, Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, commented on the issue:

“We are incredibly happy with the decision issued today, this resolution reaffirms SCJN’s precedents and jurisprudential criteria by pointing out the binding nature of obligations arising from international treaties -United Nations ones for this case- for all authorities, in accordance with Constitutional article 1. This decision is an important step for the recognition of victims of disappearance right to be searched and reiterates State’s obligation to act with due diligence, carrying out all actions necessary for searching a missing person since the first moments the disappearance is reported. Furthermore, we highlight that the resolution opens the door for more than 450 Urgent Actions of missing persons in process and obliges all authorities to initiate immediate actions for searching and investigating the facts».

Supreme Court decision recognizes Mrs. Perla Damián Marcial arduous and courageous struggle, who from the moment her son was an enforced disappearance victim, has not ceased in searching and demanding justice, Perla´s story and the recognition of her fight has been told in the Documentary  ¨Abrir la Tierra»

We want to thank the support of numerous national and international organizations and institutions that in August 2020, presented a series of Amicus Curiae to the SCJN, to give their technical opinions on the undoubted obligation of the Mexican State in this matter (check them at our website).

The discussion arose from the strategic litigation carried out by Idheas on behalf of Mrs. Perla Damián Marcial, mother of Víctor Álvarez Damián, by demanding Veracruz Prosecutor’s Office, in 2017, a proper investigation and compliance with the Urgent Actions that CED had ordered. The Veracruz prosecutor’s office stated that the binding nature of the urgent actions were inadmissible and rejected any legal obligation to comply with them. In face of prosecutor’s office refusal, Idheas filed a lawsuit in October 2017, which was resolved in January 2018 by the Third District Court in the Veracruz State, which also denied the obligation attributed to the authorities to comply with actions issued by CED.

In disagreement with the ruling, Idheas requested the SCJN to bring the lawsuit for its knowledge, underling its importance and social impact. In August 2019, The First Chamber of the highest court recognized its jurisdiction. Attorney Guillermo Naranjo also participated in this work, who jointly continued with IDHEAS to represent Mrs. Perla before the SCJN.

For more information, see our website #MéxicoAnteLaONU.

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