17. This complaint led to pretrial investigation Nº AL41/SJI/030/99. On February 6, 2001, the Ministerio Público concluded that it did not have grounds “for continuing its investigation of Juan Regino López Leoporto; as a result, it decided to send all the records of this investigation to the reserve files.” 13 This, in the view of the petitioners, “means that the Ministerio Público is suspending any action related to the sole witness who could provide information on the whereabouts or the fate [of the alleged victim.” 14 The petitioners further argued that “the criminal investigation involved various irregularities, since the officials in charge of conducting it did not act with due diligence. As proof of this, […] on November 11, 2001, Mrs. Sonia López was summoned to provide a photograph of her disappeared spouse.” 15 18. Furthermore, petitioners reported that the authorities” never channeled their action toward investigation of the “Paz y Justicia” paramilitary group and the membership […] of Juan Regino López Leoporto in that group, despite the insistence of the petitioners and family members in that regard. Nor did they provide reasonable arguments to justify why they rejected that line of investigation.” 16 19. In addition, the petitioners reported that at the time of the events, Chiapas law “did not include provisions for the crime of forced disappearance or an equivalent offense as established in Article 2 of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons […].” 17 Thus at the time the pretrial investigation was opened, it was meant to address “illegal deprivation of freedom.” On this point, the petitioners claimed that “as long as the criminal offense of forced disappearance of persons with its own characteristics to define such an act does not exist, justice, as dictated in Article 14 of the Political Constitution of Mexico, can be neither sought nor imparted.” 18 20. The petitioners asserted that the facts of the present case do not represent isolated incidents in Chiapas, but instead are part of “a deliberate policy on the part of the Mexican State to deal with the indigenous insurrection of 1994 headed by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN).” 19 21. The petitioners point out that the IACHR recognized the problem in its 1998 report on Mexico: In recent years, two situations have had an impact on the exercise of human rights: the EZLN insurgency in the South, which has led to an important presence of the Mexican Armed Forces in that area, conducting low-intensity operations; and, subsequently, especially beginning in 1995, the militarization of the North and the emergence in that area of paramilitary groups whose activities have been reported as contributing to human rights violations. […] However, in the [northern] zone of [Chiapas], there have been numerous criminal acts of aggression, consisting of threats and attacks involving civilian communities and leaders, that have been imputed to groups identified as paramilitaries which operate in a coordinated manner, with the support of the authorities and ranchers in neighboring areas, and with the implicit protection 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Observations submitted Observations submitted Observations submitted Observations submitted Initial petition, p. 11. Initial petition, p. 11. Observations submitted by by by by the the the the petitioners petitioners petitioners petitioners on on on on October 12, 2001, p. 2. October 12, 2001, p. 2. March 28, 2002, p. 3. March 28, 2002, p. 4. by the petitioners on February 8, 2005, p. 6. 5

Select target paragraph3