Mexican forces implicated in crimes against humanity

Mexican forces implicated in crimes against humanity

Open Society, other NGOs want international forensic experts to investigate disappearances, felonies

By Nancy Caouette

MEXICO CITY (AA) – The Mexican government must promptly address the human right crisis the country currently faces, several Mexican and international nongovernmental organizations (NGO) said Tuesday.

In a 228-page report spanning nine years, Open Society Justice Initiative, a New York-based NGO, and other Mexican groups maintained that they found "reasonable grounds" that crimes against humanity were committed by authorities and the Zetas drug cartel.

According to the report, the war on the drugs launched in December 2006 by the former Mexican President Felipe Calderon has killed more than 150,000 victims and led to 580,000 forced disappearances.

"The deployment of armed forces in Mexico to submit the criminal crime members has resulted in extra-legal executions in an almost complete impunity,” said James A. Goldstone, executive director of Open Society.

Goldstone said the purpose of the report was not to "bring the case in front of the International Criminal Court,” but to bring to trial in Mexican courts the perpetrators of the crimes.

Open Society gave three recommendations to improve the country’s justice system.

The first measure will be to allow international specialists to investigate felonies and the thousands of cases of disappearance in the country; to allow independent forensics to investigate crimes and to progressively remove armed forces members in order to adopt legislation that controls the use of force by the state.

"Mexico is rich in material resources and human capital. The country has the capacity to address the crisis, but it lacks will,” Goldstone said.

The report was based on documents and interviews between 2006 to 2015.

"This investigation is not exhaustive. It is focused on Zetas cartel’s and federal authorities’ crimes. We must also investigate local authorities’ and other criminal organizations’ felonies, among others," said José Antonio Guevara, the director of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights.

The report also makes reference to mass graves found in recent years; thousands of disappearances including 43 students kidnapped by local police in Guerrero in September 2014 and executions such as the shooting of 22 suspected gang members by soldiers in Tlatlaya in central Mexico in 2014.

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