Call To Convene an International Tribunal of Conscience regarding Crimes Against Humanity & Genocide in Tabasco & Guerrero, Mexico (Issued June 2017)

We are inviting you to be an endorser or convener, and if possible, member of the jury, for one or all of the following locations where the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement (ITCPM) will hold special sessions: at the site of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the Mexican region of Guerrero; at “La 72”, the Franciscan shelter for migrants in transit located at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, in Tenosique, Tabasco (which was named in commemoration of the 72 migrants in transit from 6 countries who were victims of the 2010 San Fernando Massacre). These sessions will be held between September 21 and September 29, 2017. +

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, La 72 migrant shelter in Tenosique, and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba).

The ITCPM will be undertaking participatory processes of dialogue which seek to hold the 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 U.S. executive orders on immigration. 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). International human rights monitors from the United Nations (UN), the Inter-American migrants in transit from Central America through Mexican territory; there will be particular focus on the exodus of migrant children and youth from their countries of origin.

The ITCPM 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 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.

the substantive solidarity necessary to counter the impunity that characterizes the political and judicial systems of the Mexican state. As a result, the ITCPM 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 Guerrero, or Tabasco, Mexico. For those who will travel to Mexico, please list your preferences in assignment to these sessions will coincide with both the third anniversary of the forced disappearances of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, and with this year’s 72nd opening session of the UN General Assembly. The Tribunal of Conscience will not only be a demonstration of continued solidarity with the Ayotzinapa, and San Fernando cases 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 immigrants of Mexican origin in the U.S., and against human rights violations against migrants; the San Fernando Massacre being an emblematic example of impunity regarding the rights of migrants.

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 2017 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 ITCPM cannot manifest bunal sites. Your commitment would be felt not just within the ITCPM but also among the Mexican people.

Please Join Us! (Initial convenors & contact information):

General contact: itc@peopleunited.org; for California, contact: Jose Luis Fuentes at jlf@peopleunited.org; for Massachusett, contact Judy Somberg at judy_somberg@igc.org, or Robert Warren at rmwarren53@gmail.com; for Mexico, contact Maria Elena Hernandez at cdj_eleni@hotmail.com; for New York, contact Natasha Bannan at lyciaora@gmail.com, or Waleska Cabrera at waleska.cabrera@gmail.com; for Ohio, contact Camilo Perez Bustillo at cperezbustillo@gmail.com.

Initial Convenors:

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, President of the National Lawyers Guild & Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF

PUEBLO, non-profit organization based in Oakland, California.

Camilo Perez Bustillo, Research Professor, Human Rights and Law, U. of Dayton/Fellow, CROP (Norway) and FLASCO-Guatemala.

Waleska Cabrera, Faith-based Organizer, The Migrant Center at The Church of Saint Francis of

Jose Luis Fuentes, Human Rights Attorney located in the Bay Area of California.

Oscar Lopez, Staff Attorney in Statewide Education Rights Projects at Public Counsel.

James Smith, Professor Emeritus.

Judy Somberg, Attorney, Chair National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas.

Background References:

Internationaltribunalofconscience.org

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/undenialble-atrocities-2nd-edition-20160808.pdf

https://www.nlg.org/mexican-govt-on-trial-for-crimes-against-humanity-nlg-co-convenor-in-international-tribunal/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/azadeh-shahshahani/tribunal-finds-mexico-and_b_8824162.html

http://www.nlginternational.org/report/Final_Preliminary_ITC_Verdict.pdf

http://permanentpeoplestribunal.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SENTENCIAFINAL_MEXICOingles.doc.pdf

http://www.ipsnews.net/2011/10/permanent-peoples-tribunal-sets-up-shop-in-mexico/

https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/tatiana-coll/people’s-permanent-tribunal-in-mexico-defending-against-structural-violence