REPORT No. 62/19 CASE 12.322 MERITS ANTONIO GONZÁLEZ MÉNDEZ MEXICO May 4, 2019 I. INTRODUCTION 1. On August 10, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the InterAmerican Commission,” “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas A.C. (hereinafter “the petitioner”), 1 alleging international responsibility of the United Mexican States (hereinafter “the Mexican State,” “the State” or “Mexico”) for the presumed forced disappearance of Antonio González Méndez and the subsequent failure to investigate the case to his detriment and to the detriment of his wife Sonia López Juárez and their four children, Ana González López, Magdalena González López, Gerardo González López and Elma Talía González López (hereinafter “the alleged victims”). 2. The Commission approved Report on Admissibility No. 75/07 on October 15, 2007.2 On October 24, 2007, the Commission served notice of this report to the parties, who were granted the time to submit their additional observations on the merits, as provided by the Rules of Procedure. Both parties submitted observations on the merits. Both the petitioners and the State expressed in 2007 their willingness to undertake the friendly settlement process though, in the end, no agreement was reached and, therefore, the IACHR decided to carry on with the processing of the case. All information received from each party was duly forwarded to the opposing party. II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE PARTIES A. Petitioner 3. The petitioner denounced the forced disappearance of Antonio González Méndez, which allegedly took place on January 18, 1999 and was carried out by one or several members of the paramilitary group “Paz y Justicia” or “Desarrollo Paz y Justicia” (hereinafter “Paz y Justicia”), which operated in northern Chiapas state, Mexico, with the tolerance and acquiescence of the Mexican State. 4. According to the allegation, this disappearance was not an isolated incident, but instead was part of a context of actions carried out by armed paramilitary groups operating in Chiapas since 1995. It claims that paramilitary activity in Chiapas ensued as a consequence of the “1994 Chiapas Campaign Plan” (Plan de Campaña Chiapas 1994), which was designed by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), in an attempt “to secretly organize certain sectors of civil society” in order to “break the relationship of support that existed between the population and law-breakers.” The petitioner contends that this plan was put into effect after the uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) against the State and the Mexican Army in January 1994 and the subsequent increase in the opposition to the government of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose control over the municipalities of Chiapas was under threat. It argues that, in this context, the State facilitated the creation of illegal paramilitary groups, such as Paz y Justicia, and enabled them to operate with impunity in the region where the victim disappeared, thus posing a direct and certain risk to the local population. In a letter of October 12, 2001, the petitioner advised that the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) was joining the proceedings as co-petitioner. However, in a communication of November 15, 2016, CEJIL gave notice that it would not be continuing to provide the legal representation of the victims. 2 IACHR. Report No. 75/07. Case No. 12.322. Antonio González Méndez. Mexico. October 15, 2007. The petition was declared admissible with respect to Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 25 of the American Convention, in connection with the obligations set forth in Articles 1.1 and 2 of the same instrument. The IACHR also found the petition inadmissible with respect to Article 17 of the Convention. 1 1

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