Extrajudicial killings in the war on drug cartels in Mexico
A report from Human Rights Watch from Nov 2011 analyzing the role of the Mexican armed forces in violence and extrajudicial killings of civilians in the war against the country´s powerful drug cartels.
"More than 50,000 soldiers are currently involved in large-scale counternarcotics operations across Mexico. In the places where they are deployed, these soldiers have taken on many of the responsibilities of both police and prosecutors—from patrolling neighborhoods to responding to shootouts, from investigating individual crimes to gathering intelligence on criminal groups—even as civilian oversight of the military’s operations has been reduced. The Armed Forces have been joined in their efforts by thousands of officers from the newly reconstituted Federal Police, and more than 2,200 separate state and municipal police forces, though cooperation between these security forces is often limited or superficial.
How have the security forces performed? Two years ago Human Rights Watch set out with this question. To answer it, we conducted in-depth research in five states significantly affected by drug-related violence: Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nuevo León, and Tabasco. We conducted more than 200 interviews with a wide array of government officials, security forces, victims, witnesses, human rights defenders, and others. We also analyzed official statistics, gathered data through public information requests, and reviewed case files, legal proceedings, and human rights complaints, among other forms of evidence.
Nearly 35,000 people were killed in violence related to organized crime from December 2006 to January 2011, according to official statistics. President Calderón has claimed 90 percent of these victims were members of cartels, killed by rival criminal groups or in confrontations with security forces; 6 percent were state officials; and 1 percent were innocent victims. There are significant reasons to question the reliability of those figures, including evidence of widespread tampering with crime scenes by security forces, the dearth of criminal investigations into the killings, and evidence, detailed below, that a significant number of extrajudicial killings are never reported."
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