By Jose de Cordoba and Dudley Althaus / Wall Street Journal
International investigators invited by Mexico to help solve the disappearance and probable killing of 43 college students nearly two years ago released a scathing 608-page report detailing how constant obstacles put up by the Mexican government and the widespread use of torture in criminal investigations sabotaged their probe.
The investigators said that evidence showed Mexico’s federal police and the police of Guerrero state had a role in the disappearances of the students that night—an incident that shook the nation. They said the disappearances and presumed killings of the students appeared to be a coordinated effort involving different security forces.
The Mexican government this month declined to extend the contract of the investigative team, which works for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, or CIDH, the human-rights branch of the Organization of American States. The investigators’ contract ends April 30.
The five experts said they couldn’t ascertain the fate of the 43 missing students. But they said there is no evidence to support the government’s thesis that the students were killed and their bodies burned at a garbage dump. The students were stopped by municipal police in league with a local drug gang in Iguala, a city in the violence-torn southern state of Guerrero, an area known for the cultivation of opium poppy and heroin production.
“We don’t know the final destiny of the students,” said Claudia Paz y Paz, a former Guatemalan attorney general and a member of the independent investigative team.