Paulo Abrao, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), revealed this Monday the names of those who will make up the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI). Their names were released one day prior to their installation in Nicaragua to “contribute to and support” the investigations of the crimes perpetrated during the civic rebellion against Daniel Ortega’s government.
The four are all professionals with advanced technical experience in the area of human rights, criminal investigation and the fight against corruption. All have participated in well-known cases in Latin America, such as that of the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, and similar cases in Guatemala, Peru and Argentina.
The group consists of Amerigo Incalcaterra, originally from Italy; Claudia Paz y Paz from Guatemala; Pablo Parenti of Argentina; and Sofia Macher from Peru.
Claudia Paz y Paz was a judge for 18 years and served as Guatemala’s Attorney General from 2010 to 2014. She’s a well-known figure in Central America who has worked for over two decades to strengthen the justice system in her country. Guatemalan sources described Paz as “the best attorney general that any Latin American country could have.”
During her term in Guatemala, Paz captured five of the ten most wanted criminals in Guatemala, and also brought General Rios Montt to justice for crimes of genocide. She resolved ten times more cases of violence against women than any other administration and detained more drug traffickers in six months than her predecessors had in ten years.
Paz has an extensive resume. She holds a doctorate in criminal law and human rights from the University of Salamanca in Spain, and among many other things has played an important role as part of a group of experts who worked on the case of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa in Mexico. She uncovered the lies surrounding the forced disappearance of these youth from the teachers’ training school in the state of Guerrero, as well as the torture and murder of six other young people.
Through the work of the IACHR group of experts, one by one, the fabric of lies woven by the government of Enrique Pena Nieto regarding the Ayotzinapa case was unraveled, bringing to light the inaction and negligence of the Mexican federal police and the army. Dr. Paz worked in Mexico for six months and will work in Nicaragua with the GIEI for a similar period of time.
The group consists of Pablo Parenti of Argentina; and Sofia Macher from Peru (above), and Claudia Paz y Paz from Guatemala and Amerigo Incalcaterra, originally from Italy (bottom).
“These are persons of high technical level and recognized trajectory in the protection of human rights. The members of the GIEI have been selected by the IACHR and appointed by the Secretary General of the OAS.,” informed Abrao in a communique. “The members of the IGIE arrived in Managua on July 1st to begin their work,” he elaborated.
A commission similar to the Guatemalan group
Another member of the GIEI is Amerigo Incalcaterra, who has worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as Regional Representative for South America, an organization that is also present in Nicaragua. He has also served as the Deputy Commissioner of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) that discovered and dismantled the network of corruption of former Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina and his vice president Roxana Valdeti, and an ample web of fiscal fraud.
Amerigo has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Central America, has served as an Advisor to the UN Department of Political Affairs and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and advised the Special Representatives of the Secretary General. “He held protection and program positions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Cuba and Angola,” according to his resume.
Truth commission in Peru
Sofia Macher is a sociologist who has served as Commissioner in two Truth Commissions (Peru and Solomon Islands). The former is her native country, where she worked to clarify the crimes committed between 1980 and 2000 by the terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso [“Shining path”] and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, as well as the deadly military repression of Alberto Fujimori’s government.
Macher presided over the Reparations Council of the Peruvian State, which prepared the Single Register of Victims. This was an enormous task that identified 182,000 direct and indirect victims in Peru from this violent chapter of their recent history. Of these, 69,000 were murdered or had disappeared.
Crimes against humanity in Argentina
Argentinean Pablo Parenti is a lawyer who currently serves as a federal prosecutor in Argentina. He’s been working for nearly 20 years in cases of crimes against humanity.
The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts in Nicaragua will be charged with technically analyzing the lines of investigation and making recommendations for actions with respect to the different levels of legal responsibility.
Abrao also explained that the GIEI will be able to analyze whether all the avenues of investigation are being correctly exhausted, and whether the appropriate legal figures are being used to frame the possible illicit acts and their perpetrators and, if necessary, recommending the actions to be implemented to guarantee that these objectives are achieved.
“The Group shall have guarantees of autonomy and independence, as well as access to investigation and security files in order to carry out its work,” the IACHR explained.
Mandate to investigate for six months
The agreement between the IACHR and the Ortega government establishes a six-month mandate for the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts that may be extended by agreement of both parties. For now, the Special Follow-Up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) has served as the entryway for the installation of the GIEI. During the week that the MESENI has been working in Nicaragua, it has reported that 18 people died violently in the context of the current repression, with multiple people injured.