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Mexico: Government Considers Legal Actions Against Citizens Demanding ICC Probe

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

The Mexican Presidency's office has responded to the petition filed in the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes against civilians committed by those fighting Mexico's Drug War; according to a press release [es] published in major print newspapers, the government considers the complaint's arguments “unfounded and unfair” and a “true libel”, and will consider legal alternatives to act against those who “damage the name of Mexico”.

It is absurd to even try to equate the actions of a democratic government to preserve the law and defend families from criminals, with crimes against humanity committed by authoritarian regimes […]

The accusations against the Government of Mexico are clearly unfounded and out of order, as pointed out by the most respected voices on the subject. Nevertheless, they constitute real slander, reckless accusations that damage not only individuals and institutions, but terribly affect the good name of Mexico; therefore [the government] explores all alternatives to legally act against those who make these accusations in different forums and courts, nationally and internationally.

Professor John Ackerman emphasized on the news blog Animal Político [es] that there is no such thing as a “law suit” filed at the ICC, because that legal figure does not exist; instead, the complaint requests an evaluation of the information presented, and eventually, the organism will define if it proceeds to open an investigation or “like it happened in Colombia, establish observation mechanisms of the conflict in the country”.

International Criminal Court logo, image from Wikimedia commons.

International Criminal Court logo, image from Wikimedia commons.

On November 28, 2011, during Carmen Aristegui's [es] radio news show, Netzai Sandoval, the human rights lawyer who wrote the petition, said:

[..] un gobierno no se puede dar el lujo de acallar voces críticas en espacios mediáticos y tampoco por acudir a las vías judiciales para llegar a una solución pacífica.
Es inaceptable que se intente reprimir las voces de 23 mil personas de esta forma. Se está cuestionando nuestro derecho para buscar soluciones pacíficas y civilizadas ante los conflictos. Nosotros vamos a defender nuestros derechos y vamos a exigir que se respete la capacidad de la sociedad mexicana de denunciar.

A government can't afford to silence critical voices in media outlets, nor stop the use of judicial mechanisms to reach a peaceful solution.
It's unacceptable to try to repress the voice of 23,000 people in this way. Our right to find civil and peaceful solutions for conflicts is being questioned. We are going to defend our rights and we are going to demand that Mexican society's ability to denounce be respected.

Mexican citizens reacted strongly on Twitter, condemning the Government's statements. They have been organizing a peaceful demonstration for November 29 outside the General Attorney's Office (PGR) to symbolically “turn themselves in”, like José Hernández (@Monerohernandez) [es] tweets:

Mañana todos en la PGR a las 16:00 hrs. [Reforma a dos cuadras de Insurgentes] a ratificar las firmas y ‘entregarnos’.

Tomorrow at 4 everyone go to the PGR (Reforma avenue two blocks from Insurgentes) to ratify our signatures and ‘turn ourselves in’

Nat Colmenares blogs [es]:

Es un desacierto mayúsculo lo expresado por Calderón. Su actitud lo único que evidencia son sus temores de que el juicio en La Haya sí procede. Porque si el que nada debe, nada teme, el que teme tanto con Calderón es que tiene deudas mayores que pagar.

Calderon's statements are a huge mistake. His attitude only makes evident his fear that a trial in The Hague proceed. Because if he who doesn't owe anything doesn't have to fear anything, whoever fears as much as Calderón has huge debts to pay.

The popular culture blog Sopitas [es] considers that nothing damages the name of Mexico more than the drug war images published by some major media outlets:

Bueno, suponemos que utilizar las vías jurídicas internacionales para señalar la impunidad y la ausencia del cacareado “estado de derecho” daña más la imágen de méxico que las siguientes imagenes, ¿no?

Well, we suppose that using international legal means to point out the impunity and the absence of a deprecated “rule of law” harms the image of Mexico more than the following images, right?

Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano published an editorial in newspaper El Universal [es] defending President Calderón's strategy and defying the legal team that promotes #juicioacalderon (a trial against Calderón):

Acusar al Presidente Calderón ante cortes internacionales por hacer su trabajo y cumplir –como nunca nadie lo había hecho– con la obligación primaria, constitucional y moral inherente a su cargo, es una actitud ruin, propia de la insensatez, de la ignorancia y de la actitud revanchista de aquellos que no saben perder.

Accusing President Calderón in international courts for doing his work and delivering — like no one has done before — with the primary, constitutional and moral obligation inherited in his charge, is a despicable attitude, typical of nosense, of ignorance and of the vindictive attitude typical of those who don't know how to lose.

Lilián Bañuelos (@Leeleean) [es] and other Twitter users consider the government's statements as a threat:

Por otro lado, qué deprimente amanecer en un país en donde tu presidente te tiene amenazado.

On the other hand, it is depressing to wake up in a country where your president is threatening you.

@Thinkmexican asks:

#Calderon threatens legal action; citizens respond by saying, “arrest me!” Isn't this how revolutions start? #JuicioaCalderon

While Amílcar Sandoval (@Sanamilcar) [es] argues that:

Calderón cumple cabalmente el patrón conductual de criminales y dictadores enjuiciados en la CPI. Acosa y amenaza a quienes lo denuncian.

Calderón meets fully the behavioral pattern of criminals and dictators prosecuted at the ICC. Harassing and threatening those who accuse.

Eduardo Buscaglia (@edbusclagia) [es], an expert in organized crime and security for international institutions like the United Nations, tweeted:

Autoridads d otros paises han sido llevados ant la Corte Interamericana de DDHH debido a una amenaza “legal” como la hoy emitida x Mr. FCH.

Authorities of other countries have been taken to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights because of a “legal” threats like the one issued by Mr.FCH [Felipe Calderón]

Finally, @Cualquiercabron [es] sums up his opinion with this tweet:

Si Calderón se supiera inocente no lo preocuparía la CPI, y si le importara la “imagen de México” no amenazaría a ciudadanos. Simple.

If Calderon knew he were innocent he wouldn't worry about the ICC, and if he were worried about ‘Mexico's image’ he wouldn't threaten citizens. Simple.

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

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