UN official says Mexican troops should be interrogated

UN official draws attention to necessity of investigation of Mexican soldiers regarding massacre of 43 missing students

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaks to the media during a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico, October 7, 2015. Al Hussein is in Mexico for a three-day visit.

A top United Nations official said on Thursday that Mexican authorities should allow a panel of experts to question the soldiers who may have witnessed the mass kidnapping and massacre of 43 trainee teachers last year at the Iguala city of Guerrero state.

The massacre of 43 trainee teachers has continued to increase outrage within the country. The government of President Enrique Pena Nieto has been under criticism over being incapable of finding those responsible for the attack.

Mexico’s Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos told local media late on Monday that the head of the Mexican army will not permit the interrogation of their staff because none of their troops took part in the attack last September.

''I can't permit them to interrogate my soldiers, who at this point haven't committed a single crime," Cienfuegos said.

During his interview on a local television network, Cienfuegos also claimed that nearly 50 of his soldiers had already been interviewed by the attorney general's office with the attendance of members from the Mexico's human rights commission.  

He also asserted that the international panel of experts had no legal grounds to interrogate Mexican soldiers.

Comments of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein came shortly after Cienfuegos’ words on the issue.   

Al Hussein said during his visit to the country that head of the Mexican army should permit a panel of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to interrogate the soldiers who may have been involved in the disappearance of the 43 college students. 

"It is important that the government acts decisively on the recommendations of the (IACHR panel), including its insistence that authorities reverse their decision to not allow the experts to interview members of the 27th Battalion," said Al Hussein.

Following the incident, the government intended to finish the investigation regarding the attack, asserting that a corrupt cadre of local police who was in cooperation with a drug gang confused the students for a rival gang.

According to the statement from the government, they kidnapped and burned the students on a pyre in a nearby town.

A panel of respected international investigators last month claimed that the suspects may have been forced to come clean by federal and state security forces, including the army.

TRTWorld and agencies