EUROPA Press in Spain & Kelly McKenzie/Border Planet
March 3, 2009
MADRID - The Mexican government will be on trial before the Inter-American Court next month in Santiago, Chile, for its mishandling of the femicide cases, according to lawyers familiar with the cases. A Spanish legal expert says that although only three cases are pending before the court, the proceeding will symbolize justice for at least 1,000 murdered victims.
The Mexican drug cartels & President Felipe Calderon
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "What I think people need to point out is the courage that Calderon has shown in taking this on, because one of the reasons it's gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that." - Associated Press/March 1, 2009.
The book "The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women " (2006) recommends an international tribunal for officials in Mexico who neglected the femicides, failed to protect women against systematic violence, allowed drug cartels to expand, hence today's violence, and against the drug barons who acted with premeditation in their crimes against humanity. - Kelly McKenzie
Below is a story the El Paso Times published on the record number of women killed in Juarez, Mexico in 2008:Reprinted by permission from the El Paso Times
U.N. official to visit slain women's families in Juárez
By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times online
EL PASO - A record number of women were murdered last year in Juárez, and so far this year, eight have been killed in a city whose unprecedented drug-related violence has eclipsed the slayings of women, according to Chihuahua state statistics.
Chihuahua state authorities reported 86 killings of women in Juárez in 2008, 38 more than in 1995, when the next-highest number of slayings was reported during the past 15 years.
The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is sending its Mexico representative to Juárez on Tuesday to meet with officials and victims' relatives, in response to complaints about the escalating violence against women and threats to advocacy groups that keep pressing for investigations.
After the meetings in Juárez, Alberto Brunori, the U.N. official based in Mexico City, will make recommendations to the U.N. High Commissioner in New York and the Mexican government. The commission is the main human-rights arm of the United Nations, which monitors human rights throughout the world.
Last year, Juárez had 6.6 murders of women per each 100,000 population, compared with El Paso County, which had 1.08 per each 100,000 population. Total murders in Juárez for 2008 were 1,609, or 123.76 per 100,000, compared with 20 homicides for El Paso County, or 2.7 per 100,000 population.
In addition to the slain women, 12 young women were reported missing in 2008, said Marilu Garcia, a member of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (May Our Daughters Come Home), an advocacy organization.
"These girls are considered high-risk victims -- they shared common features and practically all of them disappeared in the downtown area," Garcia said. "They were seen waiting for a bus or shopping or on their way to do other things. We believe human trafficking is involved in some of these cases.
"We're going to talk to the U.N. representative about the worsening violence against women, and we're going to ask the Chihuahua governor to create a special unit to search for the missing women."
Lydia Ramos Mancha, 17, a biology student at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juárez, is among the missing. She was last seen Dec. 1 catching a bus on her way to the university to check on her final exam grades.
"My family is desperate to know what happened to my sister," said Gerardo Ramos Mancha, 21, the missing teen's brother.
"We know the investigators are overwhelmed with numerous cases, but I would like for the governor to hire or assign more agents to these cases. My sister was pursuing a career in medicine, and she was normal, like any other girl her age."
Garcia said many law enforcement officials have left the ranks of the state attorney general's office because of threats from the drug cartels.
Of last year's 1,609 homicides, 125 of the victims were police and soldiers. Other law enforcement officers quit or were fired, leaving hundreds of cases unattended.
Nevertheless, the Chihuahua state attorney general's office has maintained that investigators have solved or have strong leads in 80 percent of the women's murders.
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