The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced two cases of extrajudicial executions in the Mexican state of Michoacán, committed by members of the country’s Federal Police force.
HRW reported that the killings were committed on January 6 in Apatzingán and Tanhuato on May 22, daily El Espectador reports.
“Time and time again the Mexican justice system has demonstrated its incapability by not allowing its members to respond for the abuses which they have committed,” Daniel Wilkinson, managing director of the Americas division of HRW commented.
Bodies dissolved in acid, missing evidence in the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students and the Tlatlaya massacre are just some examples of the many breaches of human rights which have occurred in Mexico during the past year alone.
Indeed President Peña Nieto is accused of endlessly turning a blind eye to internal crime, setting his sights on media-driven events such as the escape of El Chapo Guzmán or the Mexican tourists killed in Egypt rather than providing answers to the families and relatives of those affected by slip ups in the country’s security system.
In fact, the organization estimates that around 50 killings were committed in Michoacán alone this year. But, more than nine months after the killings in Apatzingán and five months after those in Tanhuato, no police officers have been charged for any misconduct in either incident.
A man injured at Apatzingán recounted how Mexican police shot two unarmed civilians, planting the weapons next to the corpses. The official account narrates that there was a “crossfire” between both parties.
“Faced with evidence of atrocities, the government’s response has been to deny or downplay the magnitude of the problem,” Wilkinson said. “It’s the same dismissive approach we saw last year in Ayotzinapa and Tlatlaya,” he added in reference to two recent high-profile Mexican cases, “it suggests the government still isn’t ready to take the country’s human rights crisis seriously.”
Waiting for answers
Unlawful killings are almost a weekly event in Mexico, as evidence peppered with flaws, or which simply disappears, means that hundreds of crimes remain unsolved.
Yet, in a country whose security system appears openly aware of the internal corruption it is the efforts by those affected firsthand who drive on the search for justice. The president seems content to try to sweep it under the rug.