Call To Convene an International Tribunal of Conscience regarding Crimes Against Humanity & Genocide in Mexico (Issued May 2018)
We are inviting you to be an endorser or convener, and if possible, member of the jury, for the following locations where the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples (ITC) will hold special sessions: at the site of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the Mexican region of Guerrero; at Estado Mexico, FES UNAM, and Puebla. These sessions will be held between August 9, 2018 to August 20, 2018.
These intercultural and interdisciplinary invocations will include the contributions of artists and cultural workers, and will combine elements drawn from the experience of tribunals of conscience, and of truth commissions and participatory processes of healing and reconciliation, including symbolic components rooted in faith-based, indigenous, and other non-Western cosmologies. Co-sponsors include the National Lawyers’ Guild and Mexican human rights organizations such as the Assembly of Parents of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa and its student association.
The ITC will be undertaking participatory processes of dialogue which seek to hold the Canadian, Mexican and U.S. states accountable for their convergent responsibilities in Mexico’s deepening human rights crisis. Of interest to the Tribunal is U.S. aid and intervention in Mexico as manifested through neoliberal and bi-national security policies and practices; the North American Free Trade (NAFTA), the Merida Initiative, and Plan Columbia. The Tribunal will be considering a motion of contempt against these governments for their failure to take effective actions in response to the recommendations adopted at previous hearings regarding these issues held in New York in September 2015 and in Mexico between 2011 and 2014 (see links provided below). The Tribunal will be specially focus on how to set up legal clinics in Mexico to do follow up on the Tribunal's decision.
The ITC is grounded in the tradition and approach of tribunals of conscience pioneered by the Russell Tribunal of the 1960’s, which broke new ground by applying the Nuremberg Principles to U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and to U.S-backed military dictatorships in Latin America. An initial hearing of the International Tribunal of Conscience, People in Movement (ITCPM) was held in Quito, Ecuador and Mexico City in October and November 2010 within the framework of the World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM, Quito). The hearing was initiated by migrant movements that wanted to respond to the increasing violations of Human Rights, and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee, and human rights defenders in Mexico have highlighted the issues addressed by these sessions and the substantive solidarity necessary to counter the impunity that characterizes the political and judicial systems of the Mexican state.
As a result, the ITC seeks the participation of those who have a longstanding commitment to the scholarship and practice of human rights. No expertise or experience as to Mexico is necessary (others on the jury will provide that); our interest is in broadening awareness and solidarity throughout the U.S. and beyond, as to the ongoing human rights crisis there and its implications. It would be greatly appreciated if you could sign on as a convener or endorser, and/or honorary member of the jury even if you cannot make it to Mexico. For those who will travel to Mexico, the Tribunal of Conscience will not only be a demonstration of continued solidarity with the Ayotzinapa case, but will also seek to draw attention to other cases that reveal grave and systematic human rights violations within Mexico and Central America. Hence, we will also examine human rights violations against indigenous communities, femicide and against human rights defenders as example of impunity regarding the rights of humans.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) established in Bologna in 1979 as a direct continuation of the Russell Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and Latin America (1973-76) held hearings in Mexico on Free trade, violence, impunity and people’s rights in Mexico (Mexico, 2011-2014) in which NLG was a part of. In 2015, the ITCPM and NLG held a hearing in New York City, September 25-27, 2015. The Tribunal coincides with the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping and forced disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa.
The National Lawyers’ Guild, the ITCPM, and the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton conducted a follow up delegation to Mexico in November 2016 to determine if the 2015 Tribunal’s Preliminary Findings, Verdict, Recommendations were being implemented. The 2018 invocation will include the application of relevant standards for Crimes against Humanity and Genocide pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (No. 38544, 17 July 1998), and the work of critical scholars and practitioners of international law and human rights.
Without the presence of civil society, especially people’s movements, the ITC cannot manifest its moral character. Your commitment would be felt not just within the ITC but also among the Mexican people.