Martha gave her testimony to FEMOSPP before to PGR because she hoped it would get evidence to punish his tormentors, whom he fully recognized by name and surname. But this did not happen, and his case is described as another one within those chapters.
FEMOSPP was officially disbanded in 2007 amid allegations of disrespecting the labor rights of researchers in the report. For six years, it was active He only received one sentence, and it was for the crime of enforced disappearance.
After the closure of FEMOSPP, all preliminary investigations are handled by the General Investigation Coordination of the PGR. From then on, Martha’s case progressed slowly. His file changed at the Public Ministry at least 10 times, and he provided central evidence to know the location of his tormentors, who, as assured by Marta, still live and work in the same city as him. FGR has this data but has not called anyone to confirm.There were no defendants or punishments for the crimes he was accused of.
Martha’s case is emblematic because she witnessed the crimes and, unlike the other cases, survived, but “however, it is not enough to have a strong line of investigation or an urgent investigation plan where investigations are carried out,” Melissa Zamora, coordinator of the defense area of the ProDH Center and Martha’s lawyer, explained in an interview. The most recent actions within the file are information provided directly by Martha.
“We see that as a constant in all Dirty War cases, the victims are the ones driving it,” added the legal defender.
Melissa Zamora, coordinator of the defense area of the ProDH Center
Limitations on investigating sexual torture
In her statements, Martha not only recounted the torture and sexual and obstetric violence she experienced, but she also stated to the authorities that, along with her, there are young women who are raped to death by the military. Martha’s testimony “points to the continuation of sexual torture in the Dirty War as a practice of the state, not isolated, aimed at punishing the specific context experienced,” stated the lawyer of the ProDH Center.
But the Prosecutor’s Office is not investigating this specific violence. In requests for information, FGR claimed to have no records of previous investigations or investigation folders for sexual violence that happened at that time.
For lawyer Zamora, what will happen in Martha’s investigation, where only torture and not sexual violence is investigated, “is something common to many other investigations. There is an inability of the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate complex cases such as sexual torture.”.
The ProDH Center documents that in Mexico, “the use of sexual violence in the context of armed conflicts and heavy security strategies”has a different effect on women, and its purpose is to attract or break their participation in the public and political life of the country.”
Sexual torture against women is a past and present form of violence in our country. The National Diagnosis on Sexual Torture Committed against Women Deprived of Liberty in Mexico, prepared by Segob in 2022, found that 7 out of 10 women suffered some form of violence, including sexual torture, in different stages of the process, such as arrest and transfer, making available to the public ministry, arraignment, transfer, and stay in a detention center, and the trial stage.
But despite the violence against women that is historic in our country, the crime of sexual torture does not exist. The General Law on the Prevention, Investigation, and Punishment of Torture and Other Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment did not think of this kind of torture nor another based on the sex of the victim.
To punish sexual, obstetric, or other sex-based torture, the law states that if the victim of torture is a pregnant woman or subjected to any form of sexual or gender-based violence, she is considered aggravating circumstances of the crime.
There are at least four legislative initiatives that seek to criminalize sexual torture in Mexico, which are being analyzed. But according to the ProDH Center, classifying sexual torture is not necessarily the best way, because when the crimes become more complex (for example, when they go from torture to sexual torture), the victims face a greater burden of proof.
One way to punish sexual torture today is to investigate the prosecutors at the same time for both crimes of torture and sexual violence (which are classified by law) because they happen to be equal. For example, in a case like Martha’s, the torturers must be tried for the crimes of torture and sexual violence, in addition to their aggravating circumstances.
But sexual violence will be investigated as part of torture carried out by agents of the state This is not a common practice in Mexico. An example of this is the case of 11 women who reported sexual torture that occurred in 2006 in San Salvador, Atenco, State of Mexico, to the state and municipal police. Because of this case, which was also supported by the ProDH Center, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a decision against Mexico in 2018. 17 years late, the FGR is already investigating the torture but has not yet investigated sexual crimes committed, explained the lawyer.
In Mexico, the concept of sexual violence as a crime of abuse of power (that is, one used for the purpose of punishment) is a new approach among legal professionals, according to lawyer Ibett Estrada Gazga, an expert on women’s rights and consultant in criminal litigation and human rights.
For Estrada Gazga, seeing sexual violence as a form of torture means teaching that it has a control mechanism against people and that it usually occurs in a coercive context that affects not only the physical but also the psychological integrity of the person who suffers from it.
Another problem faced by the torture survivors of the Dirty War in seeking justice for what they experienced is that their complaints are for events that happened almost 50 years ago because, even though torture was a crime that was not prescribed, sexual violence Is it possible to investigate torture and sexual violence that happened decades ago? For this, contextual analysis is key, explains Documenta’s Torture Prevention Coordinator, Ángel M. Salvador Ferrer.
According to Salvador Ferrer, these analyses (supported by all the official and civil reports of society where sexual torture is mentioned as common violence) allow us to recognize that at that time there was a pattern of systematic violence against specific sectors. State agents in the context of social repression
This is very important, not only to check the sexual violence in the past but also so that the burden of proof does not fall on the victims. “If there is enough evidence to suspect that torture has occurred, there will be a’reversal of the burden of proof’, which means that the authorities, and not the victims, must show that they are not responsible for the crimes committed, Salvador explained.
AMLO reopened the wound but continued the debts
In 2020, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador created by decree a Commission for Access to the Truth, Historical Clarification, and Promotion of Justice for serious human rights violations committed from 1965 to 1990.
Martha, Laura, and other survivors are called to retell their testimony in dialogues for the truth organized by this commission. enter military camps, where they are tortured. Despite the doubts of both about their own history, so as not to be victimized again, they agreed to participate in the activities of the Commission.
“If we learn anything in this process, it is the least thing we lose is hope, otherwise we are not determined to continue with it (…) I am interested in truth, justice and presenting a fate of the lost. (…) What we insist is that it be investigated. We must show the incompetence, the apathy and the pact of silence that still remains,” declared Laura.
Laura assured me that after all these years, she tried to heal her wounds “with creativity.”That is why it is better known by the term survivor than the victim, because it assures that the first places that are “in a position to make a struggle, search, criticize, keep risking even your life to tell the truth and achieve justice. “I consider myself a survivor because to be one, you have to develop strategies to survive based on experience,” he said.
For her part, Martha Camacho and her son returned to Sinaloa’s ninth military zone in March. Without the presence of agents from the Public Ministry or anyone from the FGR to take evidence during the inspections, Marta and the other survivors walked to the military camp, where they meditated for three days on the findings.
Survivors were prevented from taking photos or videos during the inspection and were asked not to make statements until the official press conference. Martha identified places where she and other women were subjected to and violated physically, psychologically, and sexually. Returning to the barracks caused him grief and stomach pain that took him to the hospital.
Marta is still not fully recovered.However, he overcomes this and travels to Mexico City to tell the FGR what he found in the military installations.
Now he hopes his documentation will be considered by MPs. Contrary to the efforts of the victims, the FGR, which in its files contains reports, official statements, previous investigations initiated by it, and other crimes against women during the Dirty War, testifies through transparency that it does not participate in the activities of the Commission. for REAL.