Mexico rights commission: 22 civilians ‘executed’

According to a report issued by Mexico's independent National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), 22 civilians were executed during a May 2015 drug raid in Michoacán. The report, issued Aug. 18, states that among the 43 individuals killed during the drug bust, including one police officer, 22 civilians died as a result of "arbitrary execution," and an additional four were killed from "excessive use of force." While Mexican authorities continue to say the civilians were killed during the gunfight, the human rights commission maintains that the 22 were executed, and said that police placed guns next to 16 bodies in an attempt to substantiate their false claims. The human rights watchdog also found that the Michoacán Attorney General's Office was at fault for mishandling the ballistics evidence. The country's National Security Commission continues to support the actions of the police, saying, "The the use of arms was necessary and the police acted…in legitimate defense."

Mexico has received criticism from multiple human rights organizations for its handling of human rights abuses, as forced disappearances and military violence have come to international attention. In May the UN called upon Mexico to investigate human rights violations following the death of 22 people, including at least 12 summary executions [at Tlatlaya, México state, in June 2014].

From Jurist, Aug. 19. Used with permission.

Note: The Michoacán massacre, at Rancho del Sol, came days after a military helicopter was fired on by presumed gunmen of the New Generation cartel and forced to make an emergency landing. The two incidents happened in the same area, straddling the border of Michoacán and Jalisco, leading to speculation that the Rancho del Sol massacre was carried out in revenge for the helicopter attack. The Rancho del Sol and Tlatlaya incidents are among several that have become emblematic of Mexico's human rights crisis.