[JURIST] Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto [official website] announced through his spokesperson Thursday that he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Guerrero. The announcement [La Crónica de Hoy report, in Spanish] comes days before the anniversary of the tragedy and shortly after Peña Nieto met with the missing students’ families, who have not been satisfied by past efforts of the government to determine what happened surrounding the disappearances. After the meeting Peña Nieto stated on Twitter [official Twitter, in Spanish], “We are on the same side, we want the same thing: to know what happened to each of their children.” Peña Nieto also met with the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IMCI) from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] and took their recommendations for further action. This renewed effort to find the missing students follows one week after the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] on Friday urged [JURIST report] countries to increase efforts to search for disappeared persons.
While the problem of disappearances is widespread in Mexico, no particular case has drawn more attention than that of the 43 students. In February the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances published a report detailing concluding observations on the large number of recent disappearances in Mexico [JURIST report]. The report indicated that authorities are often involved in enforcing the disappearances of its citizens. In January Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the government of Mexico for their “failed” investigation of the army in the “enforced disappearance” of 43 students on September 26, 2014, claiming that it was incomplete and insufficient, after DNA collected from a mass grave of burned bodies proved inconclusive at this time. AI also called out the Mexican government in 2013 when it said [JURIST report] that the government must investigate the disappearances of thousands of people and acknowledge the government’s involvement in the disappearances. AI’s report said 26,121 people were reported disappeared or missing between December 2006 and December 2012, but 40 percent of the cases were not investigated.