Open Society report: crimes against humanity. Open Society report: crimes against humanity.

MX violence: crimes against humanity

Crimes by federal forces neither isolated nor random, says Open Society Justice Initiative

The intensity and patterns of violence in Mexico are irrefutable proof that assassinations, disappearances and acts of torture committed by security forces are crimes against humanity, charges a report published this week.

Undeniable Atrocities: Confronting Crimes against Humanity in Mexico is the result of a three-year study that explored the dimensions and nature of atrocity crimes and accountability.

Conducted by the human rights advocacy organization Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and five Mexican partner organizations, the study examined the escalation in violence since the end of 2006, when the federal government ordered the large-scale domestic deployment of security forces to combat organized crime.

The investigation found that members of official security forces and the drug cartels were responsible for committing crimes against humanity, but it focuses on the role of the federal government.

Since 2006, it found, federal administrations have promoted the extrajudicial use of force as part of their strategy against organized crime, targeting civilian populations perceived to be associated with criminal cartels.

At the same time, there has been almost no accountability for abuses. Mexico’s Army, Navy, Federal Police and the Attorney General’s office have victimized not only cartel members but innocent bystanders and many falsely accused of criminality, said the OSJI in an executive summary of the report.

As a result of this policy, “federal forces have committed numerous acts of murder, enforced disappearance and torture that have shown clear patterns in how they were committed. “These were neither isolated nor random acts,” stated the authors.

A series of statistics allows for a close look at the inefficiency of the justice system, citing the case of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa as a landmark and inept federal criminal investigation.

The report tried to examine the reasons for justice being so hard to obtain in Mexico when the crimes are so atrocious, and concluded that the roots are political.

The administrations of Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, continued the document, have perpetuated rhetoric of denial and deflection. “Senior officials have consistently denied and minimized the scale and nature” of the atrocities, making “sweeping and unfounded assertions that the victims of these crimes are themselves criminals.”

“Instead of reckoning with the problem, senior officials have engaged in a pattern of attacking United Nations and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights officials, civil society organizations and others who highlight atrocity crimes,” stated the report.

The document also found that Mexican leaders are more interested in hiding or downplaying the crisis of atrocities than in putting an end to it.

The authors say the report is not a call for involvement by the International Criminal Court but an attempt to identify the obstacles to justice, and assist Mexico in overcoming them and fulfilling its obligation to investigate and prosecute crimes.

The OSJI urged the federal government to take “bold steps” to deal with a crisis that threatens the future development of the country by inviting an international commission to independently investigate atrocities and grand corruption, and to introduce cases in the Mexican courts.

“Doing so will be critical to ending Mexico’s epidemic of murder, disappearance and torture,” it concluded.

Mexico News Daily

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.