On May 30th, Nicaragua experienced an unspeakable tragedy when a Mother’s Day protest turned bloody. Fifteen people were killed and more than 200 injured. This in turned caused Nicaragua’s Episcopal conference of Catholic bishops, which had been trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the crisis, to suspend talks, calling it “organised and systematic aggression.”
In the wake of the Episcopal conference withdrawal from the talks, the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights (IACHR) and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a Press Release on May 30th in which they outlined their plans going forward. IACHR reports that 127 people have been killed in Nicaragua since the anti government demonstrations began on April 18th.
According to the release the IACHR and OAS obtained the consent of the Nicaraguan State to create an international mechanism to investigate the violent events which has occured in IACHR to Create a group of experts to investigate violence in Nicaragua the country since April 18th.
IACHR proposed the creation of an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its Spanish acronym) whose autonomy and independence are both guaranteed. The GIEI will be charged with technically assessing lines of investigation, and recommending actions regarding various levels of legal responsibility; assessing whether investigators are adequately and fully pursuing every line of investigation, and whether they are applying the appropriate legal concepts to classify possible offenses and their perpetrators and, if necessary, recommending what actions should be taken to ensure such goals are achieved.
The GIEI will also be entitled to suggest additional measures to guarantee the safety of anyone who cooperates with with investigations, whether as witnesses, experts, or aides.
On the 6th of June, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the move by the OAS “in support of the people of Nicaragua”, which calls on the Government and all members of society to engage constructively in dialogue to address the country’s challenges and to stop all forms of violence.
The Secretary-General stated that he was encouraged that the Government is working with the OAS on electoral issues as well as with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the establishment of a Group of International Independent Experts to investigate the recent violence and expressed his solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. The Secretary-General also said that the United Nations system stands ready to provide technical support to the dialogue mediated by the Nicaraguan Catholic Bishop Conference and to the IACHR initiatives.