Friday, November 4, 2011
Military court martial convicts 14 in 2007 murder of Sinaloa civilians
The Secretary of National Defense has announced that on October 28, 14 members of the Mexican Army, including two officers and 12 soldiers, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 16 to 40 years arising out of a June 2007 case in Sinaloa state. Two women and three children were shot and killed while traveling in a van which apparently failed to stop for a military roadblock in a remote community rife with drug trafficking activity. All the defendants were convicted of murder or manslaughter, as well as other offenses, even though investigators found that the events were the result of "confusion and mistakes." Two soldiers were acquitted for lack of evidence.
The Mexican Commission on Human Rights says that during the Calderón administration, only 1.5% of all complaints against military abuses have resulted in a finding of culpability. Last July Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice ruled that in future cases involving human rights violations committed by the military, civilian tribunals, rather than courts martial, will hear the evidence. The decision was based in part upon international human rights accords and treaties to which Mexico has subscribed.
There can never be justification for these types of events, and those responsible must be held fully accountable. That being said, the negligent and even the willful killing of non-combatants is not a particularly rare event when military forces are conducting security operations among civilian populations. There have been dozens of executions of Iraqis by U.S. forces since that war was launched, some of which the military tried to suppress. Such crimes go with war, foreign or domestic.
at 3:04 PM