President Pena Nieto has said he would create a new prosecutor to look into the thousands of missing Mexicans. His announcement came after a meeting with the families of 43 students who went missing last year.
"The case is not closed," Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told families gathered for a meeting with him on Thursday as he announced the creation of a new prosecutor's office especially for Mexico's missing persons. The country's chief prosecutor would also create a team of forensic experts to re-examine evidence and the crime scenes.
"We are on the same side," the president said. "You and I are looking for the same thing." However, he stopped short of announcing a new probe into the existing investigation of the 43 students who went missing last year.
Earlier on Thursday, families of the missing students had presented eight demands to the government. Pena Nieto had instructed his ministers to analyze and publically reply to the demands, presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told journalists.
The families' demands include establishing an internationally supervised investigation of the students' disappearances and an investigation into officials who undertook the first enquiry. Sanchez said international experts would be called to look into a third investigation of the site where the students' bodies are believed to have been incinerated.
Pena Nieto's promises did little to console the parents of the 43 missing people. "Again and again we ask ourselves how we could trust in an institution that tricked us," they said in a letter to the president.
Suspects arrested following the students' disappearance said they were held at a garbage-strewn hillside in Cocula
The families rejected the creation of a special prosecutor for all of the country's missing, Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer representing the parents, told reporters. He said the president did not agree to any of the parents' demands.
"What guarantee do we have that this new investigation won't be more theater?" asked Mario Gonzalez, the father of one of the students. "We're not going to give up; we're going to continue searching."
The 43 students disappeared on September 26, 2014, in Iguala. They had gone there to get buses they wanted to use in a commemoration ceremony. Mexico's government said local Iguala police and their counterparts from nearby Cocula illegally detained the students and turned them over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang. The gang members allegedly killed the students and burned their bodies.
An international examination of the government inquiry also revealed a number of shortcomings and points of concern in the investigation into the murders. The experts, sent by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said the bodies could not have been burned at the Cocula garbage dump, as the government has claimed.
More than 25,000 people have disappeared between 2007 and July 2015 in the country.
mg/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)