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Mexican President accused of war crimes in cartel crackdown

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 28th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mexican activists have now targeted President Felipe Calderon with accusations of war crimes and are petitioning to have him brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (Catholic Online) - The group of 23 activists have signed a complaint of war crimes against the president and are claiming that his current offensive against the drug cartels is a violation of human rights. Specifically, they are complaining about the treatment of prisoners arrested during the offensive by the army and police.

The group says they're aware of about 470 cases of human rights violations by government officials against suspects.

The activists claim that Calderon has allowed soldiers and police to kidnap, torture, and even kill civilians.

The complaint also targets Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel leader.

Activists are upset that the violence has cost anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 lives since 2006, and doesn't appear anywhere close to abating.

The activist lawyer, Natazi Sandoval said "the violence in Mexico is bigger than the violence in Afghanistan, the violence in Mexico is bigger than in Colombia. We want the prosecutor to tell us if crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Mexico, and if the president and other top officials are responsible."

Officials of Calderon's government have flatly denied the accusations. They assert that the government is elected, and democratic and that Mexico has established mechanisms designed to protect human rights. The interior minister said in a statement "the established security policy in no way constitutes an international crime. On the contrary, all its actions are focused on stopping criminal organizations are protecting all citizens."

He continued, "Mexico as never before, as implemented, in a systematic and growing way, a public policy to strengthen the rule of law and promote and respect human rights."

The ICC does have jurisdiction to prosecute individuals in countries whose governments are unwilling or unable to prosecute the people themselves. The organization will now have to investigate the claims, and determine if they are in fact crimes against humanity. The process could take months or even years. However, if the ICC does conclude that crimes against humanity have been committed, then the international court could issue warrants for the arrest of those responsible.


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