Torture and cover-ups by Mexican police investigators may have rendered testimony for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students inadmissible in court, a report ratified by the United Nations said Wednesday.
Enrique Peña Nieto's administration has accused the United Nations of "premature" conclusions, but the UN Office of Human Rights (UN-HR) insists the investigation has been compromised.
In a March report, 'Double Injustice: Report on Human Rights Violations in the Investigation of the Ayotzinapa Case,' the U.N. Permanent Mission of Mexico said it had "strong elements of conviction" that the state tortured at least 34 suspects detained during the initial probe.
The Mexican government responded by saying that although it has been accused of organizing the disappearance of the 43 students who disappeared in 2014 en route to a political convention, there is no evidence of torture and it continues to investigate the case.
"As highlighted in the observations document, after having made the expert opinions in the framework of the research manual known as the Istanbul Protocol, which provides the minimum standards and parameters through which the existence of torture can be verified, the results to date do not reliably support the commission of such acts," the government said in a statement.
"In the document of observations, the government of Mexico reiterated to the UN-DH that the aforementioned issues are still under investigation and judicial consideration, for which the conclusions of its report were premature and could affect the outcome of the same."
The government claims rogue police officers apprehended the 43 students on the night of Sept. 26, 2014, handing them over to a gang known as Guerreros Unidos. According to the report, the students were then killed and cremated in a garbage dump. Their remains have yet to be found.