Mexican Advocates Seek ICC Investigation of Violence, Deaths in Crack Down on Drug Trade

Mexican advocates have submitted a communication seeking an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Mexican officials’ complicity in the deaths, torture and kidnapping of civilians in the country’s ongoing drug-related violence. [Reuters] The request for an investigation, submitted by attorney Netzai Sandoval and signed by 23,000 Mexican citizens, names President Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s most-wanted drug cartel head, the public security minister and the commanders of the army and navy.  Mexico is a State party to the Rome Statute and the ICC prosecutor is authorized to initiate investigations on the basis of private complaints (“communications“); however, it may be some time before a decision is made on this request.

As reported by Reuters, Mr. Sandoval stated he is seeking “an investigation into the deaths of hundreds of civilians at the hands of the military and drug traffickers in Mexico, where more than 45,000 have died in drug-related violence since 2006” and hopes the ICC prosecutor will determine “if war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Mexico, and if the president and other top officials are responsible.”

In its report, Neither Rights Nor Security: Killings, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico’s ‘War on Drugs’, released earlier this month, Human Rights Watch identified 170 incidents of torture, 24 extrajudicial killings, and 39 enforced disappearances in Mexico since President Calderon took office at the end of 2006 and ramped up efforts to combat organized crime – including by deploying military forces in policing operations.  Military members accused of human rights abuses are prosecuted in the military justice system, which are criticized as lacking impartiality and transparency.  For several indigenous women raped by soldiers, obtaining justice in the military system proved impossible and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Court have found, inter alia, their rights to due process and a proper investigation had been violated. See, e.g, Rosendo Cantú et al. v. Mexico.  The IACHR has also condemned the death of a human rights activist after illegal detention by the military, intimated that state agents were at least partly responsible for the deaths of 145 migrants found buried in an unmarked grave, and carried out a country visit to Mexico earlier this year.

Al Jazeera video report here and below.

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