Army and Navy Abuses, Cover-Ups Should be Prosecuted in Civilian Justice System - Military and police officers were implicated in a series of deaths and disappearances in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, Human Rights Watch said today. Federal and state prosecutors should take immediate steps to prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said.
In a recent fact-finding mission to Nuevo Leon, Human Rights Watch investigated eight killings during 2010 that evidence indicates were the result of unlawful use of lethal force by army and navy officers. Human Rights Watch also documented more than a dozen enforced disappearances in Nuevo Leon since 2007 in which the evidence points to the involvement of the army, navy, and police.
"Failing to prosecute soldiers and police officers who kill, carry out enforced disappearances, and commit other grave violations sends a message that these abuses are acceptable tactics for combating organized crime," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "While it is true Nuevo Leon is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence, such abuses only undermine public security efforts and worsen an atmosphere of lawlessness."
Victims' families told Human Rights Watch that they had complained to state and federal authorities, and that in most cases investigations had been formally opened. But no one has been held accountable for any of the crimes Human Rights Watch documented in Nuevo Leon, according to the families.