October 22nd, 2008 – Scott Campbell writes: As the second anniversary of the murder of Brad Will approaches, I’ve translated the summary section of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) recent report on the state and federal governments’ investigations into the murder. The report is unique as the CNDH is largely a joke, and such a damning (though polite) report is rare. It reads awkwardly, as does the Spanish version, but I did the best I could to make it flow.
In other news, there was a march in Oaxaca yesterday to protest the arrest of APPO member Juan Martinez for the murder of Brad Will. It was led by Juan’s wife, Liliana. Neighbors in Santa Lucia del Camino, where Brad was killed, have announced they will be installing a barricade at 2pm on October 27, at the intersection of Ferrocarril and Calicanto and invite the public’s participation. Amnesty International issued an alert on Monday regarding the arrest of Juan Martinez, which stated in part,
Juan Manuel Martínez is currently detained in Santa Maria Ixcotel state prison, where he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment in order to force him to confess the 2006 murder of US videojournalist Brad Will. Amnesty International is also concerned that he may not be granted adequate access to a lawyer of his choice and members of his family.
Members of Friends of Brad Will are also holding a four-day fast and protest in front of Senator Clinton’s office in New York. “It is calling on Sen. Clinton to order protection for witnesses who saw Mexican government paramilitaries shooting at demonstrators, including Brad Will, in Oaxaca, and who are currently being threatened by Mexican Authorities.” John Gibler has also just published a good investigative piece on the developments in The Indypendent.
National Human Rights Commission
September 26, 2008
Translated by Scott Campbell
Summary: On October 27, 2006, Mr. Bradley Roland Will, video journalist for the business Indymedia, was deprived of life, and due to this, on the 28th of that month and year personnel from the National Commission went to the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, to gather pertinent information and documentation, in respect to the beginnings of preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006 by the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Oaxaca.
From the analysis of the facts and evidence that make up case file 2006/4886/5/Q, it was verified that the public servants of the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Oaxaca who participated in compiling preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006, as well as those in the Federal Attorney General’s Office charged with compiling enquiry 11/FEADP/07, based in the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Journalists, violated fundamental rights of legality, of judicial security, of access to justice, according to information contained in articles 6; 14, second paragraph; 16, first paragraph; 17, second paragraph; 20, subsection B; 21, first paragraph; and 102, subsection A, second paragraph, of the Constitution of the United Mexican States, as well as 21 of the Constitution of the state of Oaxaca.
Regarding preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006, is has been noted that the prosecution committed irregularities and omissions during its actions, since it did not allow for the intervention of a criminal specialist, nor did it immediately go to the scene to collect, preserve and package evidence, as well it did not dictate measures to preserve the scene, nor did it complete a chain of custody regarding the blanket the journalist’s body was wrapped in, failing to preserve and take into account the blanket; carrying out, in an inadequate manner, a visual inspection of the scene, as well as the description of the t-shirt worn by Mr. Bradley Roland Will.
Likewise, it failed to complete in-depth interrogations of the witnesses, as well as failing to summon other individuals who were associated with the events, in spite of the fact that they were mentioned in testimonies and newspaper reports, as well as in images that were shown on television.
Nor did the investigation delve into events that witnesses made reference to; that there were people shooting from a house on Juarez Avenue, the two people that were presented as the probable material authors of the homicide were not interrogated, the number of Municipal Police that turned out at the scene of the crime, the weapons they carried and the time they were in the area, nor did it carry out actions to investigate the names of the subjects who accompanied them, nor did it execute an investigation to identify the people who carried weapons and who appeared in various photographs and videos that were made public by various print and television media outlets.
On November 15, 2006, in the press conference given about the completed investigation, then-Attorney General of the state of Oaxaca indicated that the shots which killed the reporter came from a short distance by people who were near the reporter, or during his transport to the Red Cross, without the prosecution working diligently to obtain the greatest amount of evidence that would permit them to locate and subsequently present those people situated at the scene, concretely, near the victim, and therefore gather the corresponding testimonies and, in this case, to contribute to the elements of the enquiry in order to reinforce or distort the version that the offender was located near the journalist at the moment the events occurred.
In the same press conference she mentioned that expert investigations were conducted in audiometry, audiology, sound tests and audio and video examinations of the video recorded by Bradley Roland Will’s camera; however, in the evidence listed in preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006, there is no record of the experts she referred to, nor to the sound tests she said were performed on the video.Also, is it considered that deficiencies existed in the performance of the public servants who involved themselves in the various reports produced for preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006, such as the medical lawyers who signed off on the external medical examination of the body, the autopsy report, the ballistics reports, of the comparative criminology report, of the criminology report, of the mechanics of injury and of the facts and position of the victim-offender.
The conduct and omissions by personnel in the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Oaxaca, violated the set standards in articles 2, part II; 12, parts II, III and V; 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 31, of the Code of Criminal Proceedings for the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, as well articles 49, 51, 53, 73, and 75 of the Constitution of the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Oaxaca, as well as the obligations laid out in part I of article 56 of the Public Servants of the State and Municipalities of Oaxaca Administrative Responsibilities Law.
It is pertinent to note that the irregular compilation of preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006 violates the right of the relatives of Mr. Bradley Roland Will, in their role as victims of a crime, of access to justice, provided for in articles 17, second paragraph; 20, subsection B, parts I, II, and VI, of the Constitution of the United Mexican States; 25, of the American Convention on Human Rights; and the beginning of the fourth article of the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
Moreover, in relation to the expert investigations performed for preliminary investigation 11/FEADP/07, on behalf of the Federal Attorney General’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Journalists, it is noted that they were done in an isolated manner, that is, without taking into consideration the evidence gathered by each expert in particular and without informing, as well, a complete, coordinated, and detailed analysis of the corresponding evidence; nor was a convincing conclusion provided as to how the events occurred, principally, with respect to the circumstances in which Mr. Bradley Roland Will received the second gunshot and the distance from which the deadly shots were fired.
Likewise, the Federal Attorney General’s Office has avoided requesting an audio study of the gunshots, which would help to establish their rate and sequence, and assist in determining the number of shots fired at the scene, their sequence and which were fired at short, medium, and long distances.
Even though the actions of the Federal Prosecution, charged with compiling preliminary investigation 11/FEADP/07, based in the Federal Attorney General’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Journalists have continued, to date it has not issued the respective decision, it has not been able to identify those likely responsible for the wounds that caused the death of Mr. Bradley Roland Will, as well as the motive and causes of their aggression, or other relevant circumstances, because very likely the mentioned prosecution and the experts that have issued the questioned reports may have violated their duties outlined in articles 2, part II, of the Federal Code of Criminal Procedures, as well as articles 4, part I, subsection A), clause c) and part V; 54, parts I and II, of the Constitution of the Federal Attorney General’s Office, which establish that, in preliminary investigations, the Federal Prosecution has the obligation to order the completion of all necessary actions to certify the body of the crime and the likely responsibility of the accused, as well as to safeguard the principles of legality, efficiency, professionalism and respect for human rights in the fulfillment of their duties, in addition, their actions should be congruent, timely and proportional to the incident investigated.
Moreover, it is also noted the hindering and denial of the Municipal President of Santa Lucia del Camino, Oaxaca, in providing information that would allow this National Commission to complete its investigation of the case, which has still not received any answer to its requests for information, which is in violation of part XXXII of article 56 of the Public Servants of the State and Municipalities of Oaxaca Responsibilities Law.
As a result of the above, on September 26, 2008, this National Commission issued Recommendation 50/2008 which directs the Federal Attorney General’s Office, so that it instructs the Federal Prosecution, to expedite the investigation and complete it with due diligence in a manner that guarantees a comprehensive analysis of the clues, evidence and proofs that are relevant to the inquest, as well as the contents of this recommendation, along with considering what experts belonging to the International Forensic Program of Physicians for Human Rights have provided, the proposals of this National Commission, and those proposals that allow, in a clear, objective, comprehensive, and collegiate manner the determination of the mechanics and dynamics of the wounds that caused the death of Mr. Bradley Roland Will; likewise, that the head of the Internal Control Body of the Federal Attorney General’s Office hold a hearing to determine, from the beginning of the administrative proceedings, the public servants who could have been responsible for the delays and neglect in investigating the events that caused the death of Mr. Bradley Roland Will.
Likewise, it is asked that the Governor of the state of Oaxaca have the head of the Comptroller Department of the government of the state of Oaxaca hold a hearing in order to determine, from the beginning of the administrative proceedings, the police and prosecution officials who participated in compiling preliminary investigation 1247/C.R./2006, for the violations and deficiencies described in the “Observations” section, and that the Attorney General of the state of Oaxaca hold a hearing in order to determine the probable criminal accountability of the State Prosecution; as well as instruct the head of the Comptroller Department of the government of the state of Oaxaca to hold administrative accountability proceedings regarding the experts who participated in the various reports produced for the inquest and to hold a hearing on the State Prosecution to determine its probable criminal accountability.
Finally, it is asked that the President of the Great Commission of the Honorable Congress of the state of Oaxaca remit the respective instructions, to whom they correspond, in order to hold administrative accountability proceedings regarding the then-municipal president of Santa Lucia del Camino, Oaxaca, for the failure to provide information requested by this National Commission and for hindering its work in defense of human rights.