Jesus Murillo Karam, who is accused of leading a botched investigation into the case, will be tried on charges of forced disappearance of 43 students in 2014, torture and obstruction of justice, authorities say.

Mexico's top human rights official says government role in the disappearance —including local, state and federal officials — constituted a
Mexico's top human rights official says government role in the disappearance —including local, state and federal officials — constituted a "state crime." (AFP)

A Mexican judge has agreed to hear the charges against the country's former attorney general Jesus Murillo in relation to his alleged role in the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, judicial authorities said.

Jesus Murillo Karam, who led a highly contentious investigation into the case, will be tried on charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice, the Federal Judiciary Council said on Wednesday after a court hearing.

Murillo Karam, a former heavyweight of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was arrested earlier this week and is the highest-ranking official detained so far in connection with the case, which shocked the nation and generated international condemnation.

He is considered the architect of the so-called "historical truth" version of events presented in 2015 by the government of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto that was widely rejected, including by relatives.

The teaching students had commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to travel to a demonstration in Mexico City before they went missing.

Investigators say they were detained by corrupt police and handed over to a drug cartel that mistook them for members of a rival gang, but exactly what happened to them has been hotly disputed.

According to the official report presented in 2015, cartel members killed the students and incinerated their remains at a garbage dump.

Those conclusions were rejected by independent experts and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the families.

Commission blames military

Last week, a truth commission determined that military personnel bore responsibility, either directly or through negligence, in the disappearance of students. 

"Their actions, omissions or participation allowed the disappearance and execution of the students, as well as the murder of six other people," said the commission's head, deputy interior minister Alejandro Encinas, on Thursday. 

Mexico's top human rights official, Alejandro Encinas, has said that government involvement in the disappearance — including local, state and federal officials — constituted a "state crime."

In the aftermath, the last government "concealed the truth of the facts, altered crime scenes, covered up the links between authorities with a criminal group."

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in March that navy members were under investigation for allegedly tampering with evidence, notably at a garbage dump where human remains were found, including those of the only three students identified so far.

He denied an accusation by independent experts that Mexican authorities were withholding important information about the case, which shocked the country and drew international condemnation.

Source: Reuters