Mexico: RSF campaigns on impunity for violence against journalists in Mexico

Six months after formally asking the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes of violence against journalists in Mexico, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reminds the Mexican authorities of the urgent need for an emergency plan for the judicial system to address this grave problem.

During an official meeting with Mexico’s secretary for human rights Alejandro Encinas on 12 March, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire announced that RSF had made a formal submission to the ICC the previous day about crimes of violence against journalists in Mexico from 2006 to 2018.


Prepared jointly with the Mexican NGO Propuesta Cívica, the referral identifies 116 crimes of violence against journalists – 102 murders and 14 enforced disappearances – that took place during the terms of Mexico’s two preceding presidents, Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). It points out that the vast majority remain unpunished and argues that they constitute crimes against humanity and therefore come under the ICC’s competence.


It has always been RSF’s wish that this submission would serve to support the new Mexican administration headed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in its efforts to combat impunity, on the basis that international justice can complement national justice.


At the meeting with the secretary for human rights and at the press conference that followed, RSF urged the Mexican authorities to put the justice system on a state of emergency and to quickly implement a plan for combatting impunity for violence against journalists and for respecting Mexico’s international obligations to protect media personnel.


However, the Mexican government has taken no measures since this referral to the ICC. RSF has on several occasions asked President López Obrador to refer the situation in Mexico to the ICC himself, in order to be able to count on its analysis and its help with implementing an emergency plan for the justice system. RSF’s requests have received no answer.


Now that six months have elapsed since their referral to the ICC, RSF and Propuesta Cívica have decided to release the text of their referral (which can be downloaded below) and to reiterate their appeal to the Mexican government to reinforce the resources available to the judicial authorities for investigating crimes of violence against journalists.


The head of RSF’s judicial unit, Paul Coppin, met on 20 September in the Hague with Emeric Rogier, the head of the Situation Analysis Section at the ICC prosecutor’s office. Coppin was accompanied by representatives of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)and the CMDPDH, a Mexican NGO, which have also provided the ICC with written submissions about Mexico. The meeting was used to ask about the progress that the prosecutor’s office is making in its examination of these submissions, to press the prosecutor’s office to request an investigation, and to stress how urgent it is for Mexico to see international justice helping to combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists.

 Meanwhile, on the UN’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on 2 November, RSF and an international NGO coalition will visit Mexico in order to inform the authorities about their recommendations and to seek concrete solutions for combatting impunity in Mexico.


RSF points out that at least 10 journalists have been murdered in direct connection with their work so far in 2019 in Mexico, making it the world’s most dangerous country for the media. Mexico is ranked 144th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 23.09.2019