5/9/2016 International Crisis Group
Even in a country hardened by nearly a decade of deadly criminal conflict, the Ayotzinapa case stands out: 43 students forcibly disappeared during the night of Sept. 26, 2014, allegedly at the hands of municipal police in league with a local drug gang. President Enrique Peña Nieto promised that this horrific crime, above all, would not go unpunished. “After Iguala,” he declared, naming the city where the youths went missing, “Mexico must change.”
Nineteen months later, the case has generated much controversy but little change. A group of international experts backed by the Organization of American States, invited by the government to assist federal investigators on behalf of the victims’ families, has departed after issuing a scathing 600-page report citing evidence that suspects were tortured, promising leads left unexplored, contradictory forensic reports ignored and key evidence mishandled — perhaps planted — in an apparent effort to close the probe as quickly as possible.