“A joke”, the legal outcome of the Acteal case: Arizmendi Elio Henriquez, correspondent

La Jornada
Wednesday, 23 December 2009, p. 26

Acteal, Chiapas., 22 December. During the homily in which  45 Indians killed 12 years ago by a paramilitary group in this town were remembered, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, said: “It is a mockery and a shame that due to legal niceties (29) responsible have been exonerated for a horrendous crime.

“Still hurts what happened on 22 December 1997 and we’re outraged that, despite their guilt, some have been released under cover of criminal procedural shortcomings.” He reiterated that “without justice there can be no lasting and stable peace and there is lost of confidence in the institutions.”

Meanwhile, Alberto Brunori, representative of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Organization (UN) for Human Rights in Mexico, reiterated his call to the Mexican Government to “put an end to impunity” for Acteal and guarantee the right to justice , truth and reparation. “The forgetfulness and impunity are not the answer expected of a democratic state that respects human rights,” he said before hundreds of people.

He added that for his office “the case is not closed” and if mistakes and omissions were made in the investigations, those responsible should be punished . “But after so many years I have not seen any charge,” he said after the slaughter of Acteal defined as “the single most bloody crime in recent history of Mexico.”

Activities to commemorate the 21 women, 15 children and nine men killed on December 22, 1997 began with a pilgrimage made by dozens of Catholics from the cruiser to Acteal at Majomut community, about four kilometers.

At the entrance of this town’s civil society organization Bees placed a blanket on which states: “From today Acteal has been designated ‘Site of Conscience of Humanity’, for inspiration for all who struggle for peace and indelible memory for future generations. ”

In a ceremony after the official declaration was made Acteal as “Site of Conscience” and therefore already part of the Latin American Network, which includes 21 members.

At the end of the pilgrimage, with traditional rituals, singing and accompanied by several priests and bishops and assistant Arizmendi, Enrique Díaz Díaz, more than 500 attendees, including representatives of the Mexican Electricians Union and the People’s Front for Land Defense from San Salvador Atenco, and many foreigners visitors, prepared to remember the victims with a mass translated into Tzotzil.

The Bees  said that the paramilitaries “thought they could destroy our seed, not only did not disappeared, but our Father-Mother God has given us wings to fly to many parts of Mexico and other countries to denounce injustice and lies of governments and the peace people want”

He said “we grow our courage because the pain of death, the rage of impunity has been added to the derision of some judges who call themselves representatives of supreme justice and to free them as if they were innocent, they are murderers .” He was referring to the 29 Indians convicted for the massacre in August and were released last November by a decision of the Supreme Court of the nation that claimed flaws in the process.

“We will not back a war that cost the blood of millions of brothers. We want a revolution, but not violent, to have freedom, justice and peace and to reclaim land from the hands of those who are destroying and plundering” he said.

Thanks to AM for translation and sourcing.

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