Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mexican civilian court dismisses charges against 4 army suspects

The New York Times reports:
Federal prosecutors announced they will appeal a Mexican judge's decision to dismiss criminal charges against four of seven soldiers charged in the 2014 killing of 22 gang suspects, at least 12 of whom investigators say were shot after they surrendered. 
Human rights groups said Tuesday that last week's ruling suggested prosecutors weren't doing their job, and the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez human rights center said the ruling "does not exonerate the army." 
"Three Mexican army soldiers are still on trial for homicide," the center said in a statement. "That doesn't imply that the rest of the suspects didn't commit illegal acts, given that they altered the crime scene and covered up." 
The four soldiers had faced charges of "actions improper to the public service," apparently for failing to report or helping cover up the killings. The judge upheld homicide charges against three soldiers who allegedly directly carried out the killings at a grain warehouse in southern Mexico on June 30, 2014. 
The Attorney General's Office said it would appeal and present more evidence against the four. All seven have been held at a military base and still face charges in military courts.
Mexico has been repeatedly criticized for its handling of human rights violations by military personnel. If, now, the civilian courts prove incapable of trying these cases, where can the country turn? 

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