International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Complaint against Mexican president and mafia bosses at ICC

In 2006, Felipe Calderon was elected as President of Mexico and after years of the Mexican government largely ignoring the problem of drug cartels and the violence their citizens were enduring, Calderon took a hard-line stance on the drug war, stating that he believed the drug cartels were attempting to overthrow the government and bend it to their will. On December 11th, 2006, Calderon launched “Operation Michoacan”, generally regarded as the start of the Mexican Drug War. The operation led directly to the extermination of “La Familia Cartel”, one of the three largest and most powerful cartels in Mexico. The United States among other world powers applauded Calderon and his administration’s acknowledgement of the chaos and humanitarian situation created by the cartels. Meanwhile human rights groups have looked closer into the success of the government and military’s tactics against the cartels as well as their partnership with certain drug syndicates.

Human rights organizations and lead lawyer, Netzaí Sandoval, have presented ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, with a file of 470 documented cases of human rights crimes, accusing President Felipe Calderon and Mexico’s top mafia bosses as being responsible.  Their hope is that Ocampo “will apply a system of “judicial correspondence”, and decide to perform a preliminary investigation, as he did in the case of Honduras and Colombia.” One of Sandoval’s greatest arguments is the Mexican judicial system is neither capable nor willing to prosecute crimes against humanity, partly because it does not list the violations mentioned, such as forced disappearance, as actually crimes.  By inciting a preliminary investigation, Mexican authorities should be propelled to make the necessary changes to prove that they really want to enforce human rights law. However, the author of this article states that those bringing this case to The Hague doubt this will occur in Mexico. What do you guys think?


3 responses to “Complaint against Mexican president and mafia bosses at ICC

  1. ka815 April 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I agree with the author of the above article that it is going to be difficult to have any criminal proceedings occur within Mexico, if certain acts are not seen as crimes within their government. I do not think that this should hinder the ICC from pursuing the case however, because these are considered crimes on a broader scale. I think the most interesting aspect of this case will most definitely be Mexico’s signatory status to the Rome Statute. The author of the article brought up the good point that this will be a sticky situation for Ocampo to handle when deciding to move forward with the situation or not. However, I was left a bit confused by the article on who the ICC would be prosecuting. The President of Mexico is obvious, but I was unsure of whether or not drug cartel leaders would also be prosecuted for their crimes, since they too are responsible for the situation at hand.

    • dksekurski April 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      I believe the file of cases being presented to Ocampo is being given with the goal of prosecuting both the President and the cartel leaders.

  2. Alana Tiemessen April 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Like with Colombia – this is an interesting test of complementarity. The ICC would have to prove that Mexican courts are unwilling (more likely than incapable) of conducting sufficient and fair investigations and trials and political interference is the likely culprit.

    I’m curious what the US position would be on the ICC addressing cases from Mexico….

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