Report Accuses Mexico of Crimes Against Humanity in Drug War

6/6/16 The New York Times 

Mexico CityMEXICO CITY — Two days after Jorge Antonio Parral Rabadán was kidnapped by a criminal gang, the Mexican Army raided the remote ranch where he was a prisoner and killed him. As he instinctively raised his hands in defense, the soldiers fired over and over at point-blank range.

A brief army communiqué about the event asserted that soldiers had returned fire and killed three hit men at the El Puerto ranch on April 26, 2010.

But Mr. Parral had fired no weapon.

He was a government employee, the supervisor of a bridge crossing into Texas, when he and a customs agent were abducted, according to a 2013 investigation by the National Human Rights Commission. The case, which is still open, has volleyed among prosecutors, yet his parents persist, determined that someone be held accountable.

“Tell me if this looks like the face of a killer to you,” said Alicia Rabadán Sánchez, Mr. Parral’s mother, pulling a photograph of a happy young man from a plastic folder.

In the years since the Mexican government began an intense military campaign against drug gangs, many stories like Mr. Parral’s have surfaced — accounts of people caught at the intersection of organized crime, security forces and a failing justice system.

They are killed at military checkpoints, vanish inside navy facilities or are tortured by federal police officers. Seldom are their cases investigated. A trial and conviction are even more rare.

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Body Count Points to a Mexican Military Out of Control

5/27/2016 The New York Times

MEXICO CITY — In the history of modern war, fighters are much more likely to injure their enemies than kill them.

But in Mexico, the opposite is true.

MEXICO, Ciudad de México, 12AGOSTO10. En el centro de mando de la Policía Federal fueron presentados 12 personas detenidas en dos operativos distintos en la República Mexicana. Foto: Jesús Villaseca P/Latitudes Press.
 Foto: Jesús Villaseca P/Latitudes Press.

According to the government’s own figures, Mexico’s armed forces are exceptionally efficient killers — stacking up bodies at extraordinary rates.

The Mexican authorities say the nation’s soldiers are simply better trained and more skilled than the cartels they battle.

But experts who study the issue say Mexico’s kill rate is practically unheard-of, arguing that the numbers reveal something more ominous.

“They are summary executions,” said Paul Chevigny, a retired New York University professor who pioneered the study of lethality among armed forces.

In many forms of combat between armed groups, about four people are injured for each person killed, according to an assessment of wars since the late 1970s by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sometimes, the number of wounded is even higher.

But the body count in Mexico is reversed. The Mexican Army kills eight enemies for every one it wounds.

Cocaine Seizures by Mexico’s Army Jump 340%

8/6/15 InSight Crime

cocaineCocaine is once again front and center in Mexico‘s drug trafficking industry. In contrast to other illicit drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine, the amount of cocaine seized by Mexico‘s army skyrocketed during the first half of 2015.

The quantity of cocaine confiscated by Mexico‘s army during the first six months of 2015 — almost 2,800 kilos — is a more than 340 percent increase from how much was seized during the same period last year.

Prior to this year, cocaine seizures by Mexico‘s army had been on the decline. The apparent drop in demand for cocaine in the United States and reduced coca cultivation in South America were the reasons given for the decline in seizures registered by Mexican authorities during 2013 and 2014. But the 2015 data shows a different story.

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Army fires on Michoacán protesters, 12-year-old killed

7/21/15 El Daily Post

michoacanenglishAnother burst of violence involving military troops on Sunday claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy, yet another sad chapter in the Army’s growing list of bloody confrontations with civilians. A 6-year-old girl was among the four other victims of the shoot-out who were treated at a nearby hospital.

The incident occurred in the rural village of Ixtapilla near Michoacán’s Pacific Coast in the municipality of Aquila. The villagers had organized a protest after hearing of the arrest of regional community defense leader Semeí Verdía Zepeda by the Army while he ate breakfast at another pueblo nearby.

As soon as word of his arrest reached Ixtapilla, his supporters set up road blocks on the coastal highway hoping to prevent the Army from taking Verdía Zepeda to prison. Some media reported that several soldiers had been stopped and taken hostage, effectively, and then taken to Ixtapilla.

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Mexican army to expand presence on border of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states

Mexican army2GlobalPost, 06/04/14

The Mexican army plans to expand its presence on the border between the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas as part of the new security strategy for the region, the Nuevo Leon state government said.

Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina and Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos agreed on the expanded troop deployment during a private meeting.

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Amid drug war, Mexico homicide rate up for fourth straight year

Los Angeles Times, 8/21/2012

A study has found that Mexico’s homicide rate rose for the fourth year in a row in 2011, this time by 5.6% compared with the previous year — a fact that will come as little surprise to Mexicans who continue to be bombarded each morning with the latest stomach-turning details of the country’s drug war.

The new data, released this week by Mexico’s statistics and geography institute, show that 27,199 people were killed in Mexico last year — or 24 homicides per 100,000 people. The rate in 2007 was 8 per 100,000. Last year it was 23 per 100,000.

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Colonel in Cover-up Case to Be Tried in Mexico Civilian Court

The New York Times, 8/10/12

In May 2011, Jethro Sánchez, a 27-year-old engineer, was detained by the Mexican Army, and found tortured and killed. An army colonel was accused of ordering soldiers to hide the body to cover up the crime, and the case vanished in the country’s maze of military justice.

But Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the colonel should be tried in civilian courts, a decision that human rights groups say could upend the way Mexico deals with rights abuses committed by the military in the course of fighting the country’s pervasive drug war.

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