01/30/2012 – Major General Manuel de Jesús Moreno Aviña has been accused of systematic abuses between April of 2008 and August of 2009 in front of the military garrison of Ojinaga, Chihuahua. According to Reforma, General Moreno Aviña is responsible for at least seven extrajudicial executions.
According to Reforma, one such execution was that of José Heriberto Rojas Lemus that occured in July 2008. Rojas Lemus, a 20 to 25 year-old male from Uruapan, Michoacán, was subjected to torture by electric shock in a military outpost in Ojinaga, and is believed to have died of consequent cardiac arrest. Officials and soldiers of the Third Independent Infantry Company (Tercera Compañía de Infantería No Encuadrada, CINE) allegedly incinerated the body hours later with 60 liters of diesel fuel.
In addition to abuses of this nature, General Moreno Aviña has been charged with accepting bribes from traffickers, obtaining information from ex-hitmen associated with the gang La Línea, permitting raids without judicial approval, planting weapons on detainees, and deciding which detained individuals would be referred to the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público), and which would disappear.
The case of General Manuel de Jesús Moreno Aviña is one of at least eight other cases in which there has been a request for clarification as to what type of court military personnel will be tried for crimes against civilians. According to the precedent set by the case of Radilla, a forced disappearance in 1974, the likelyhood is that the hearing will take place in a civilian court. This case also comes on the heels of the Federal Government speaking out against Human Rights Watch’s recent allegations of abuse by military officials. To read more, click here.