Fault Lines / Al-Jazeera – 2011-11-27 00:13:31
Mexican President Accused of War Crimes
MEXICO CITY (November 26, 2011) — A group of Mexican activists has lodged a war-crimes complaint against President Felipe Calderon at the International Criminal Court (ICC). A lawyer for the group of 23 activists who have signed the complaint of war crimes against the president said Calderon’s offensive against drug cartels had involved about 470 cases of human rights violations by the army or police.
The activists accuse Calderon of systematically allowing troops to kill, kidnap and torture civilians. The complaint filed Friday at the court in the Netherlands also names Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel leader.
Netzai Sandoval, the lawyer, said Mexican drug lords had also committed crimes against humanity during the conflict, which has cost 35,000 to 40,000 lives since late 2006. “The violence in Mexico is bigger than the violence in Afghanistan, the violence in Mexico is bigger than in Colombia,” Sandoval said. “We want the prosecutor to tell us if war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Mexico, and if the president and other top officials are responsible.”
Calderon’s administration has denied the accusations, saying that it is an elected, democratic government fighting criminals and that it has established mechanisms to protect human rights.
“The established security policy in no way constitutes an international crime. On the contrary, all its actions are focused on stopping criminal organisations and protecting all citizens,” the interior ministry said in a statement. “Mexico, as never before, has implemented, in a systematic and growing way, a public policy to strengthen the rule of law and promote and respect human rights.”
The ICC can try such cases in countries that are unable or unwilling to prosecute these crimes on their own. The ICC will have to decide if the allegations qualify as crimes against humanity. This could take months or even years, according to legal experts.
Mexico’s Hidden War
â€ªFault Lines / AlJazeeraEnglish
MEXICO CITY (June 19, 2011) — The spectacular violence of Mexico’s drug war grabs international attention. Some 40,000 people have been killed since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed Mexican military and security forces in the so-called war against the cartels — often in gruesome and sadistic ways.
But behind the headlines, under cover of impunity, a low-intensity war is being waged.
In the second episode of a two-part series, Josh Rushing and the Fault Lines team travel to the state of Guerrero to investigate claims that Mexican security forces are using the drug war as a pretext to repress indigenous and campesino communities. In one of Mexico’s poorest and top drug-producing states, where struggling farmers are surrounded by the narco-economy, we ask about the cost of taking the struggle against dispossession into your own hands.
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