need to resort to international humanitarian law, as we are observing the
execution of war prisoners, armed aggression against members of the Red Cross
and a growing number of collateral casualties. What we are experiencing are the
horrors of war."
The guns, drugs and money keep on flowing: Julian Zapata Espinoza, also known as 'Piolin' of the Los Zetas cartel, arrested in connection with the killing of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata last week, Feb. 23.
The greatly elevated levels
of violence in Mexico force us to analyze the fight against narco-traffickers
not simply as the application of government force, but the expression of an
armed conflict occurring within our national territory that has resulted in the
deaths of over 34,000 people and has displaced 230,000 individuals in the last
four and a half years.
If we look at the violence in
Mexico in light of international humanitarian law, Mexico has two huge
concurrent domestic armed conflicts: the first is the confrontation between
federal forces and organized crime groups; and the second is the confrontation
of the cartels among themselves.
The consequences are
devastating for the population wherever armed hostilities occur. According to Norwegian Refugee Council estimates,
the armed conflict in Mexico has resulted in the forced displacement of 230,000
people, half of them refugees in the U.S. and the other half internally displaced
That existence of displaced persons
is further demonstration that violence in Mexico is approaching the level of a
war, as described by the Geneva
Conventions of 1949 and its associated protocols.
The first criterion of an
armed conflict under international humanitarian law is that the country in
question achieves a minimum threshold of armed hostilities involving military
rather than police forces. Mexico has surpassed this threshold of intensity and
fulfills this first criterion of an armed conflict.
Another criterion is the
number of casualties. International regulations distinguish armed conflict from
lesser forms of violence like rioting or banditry, because the first are characterized
by casualties that exceed 1,000 combat deaths per year. In Mexico, we have had more
than 34,000 in four years, placing our country in a state of large-scale armed
Other criteria of international
humanitarian law relate to the existence of conflicting parties which have
adopted a name, have organized armed forces, operate under a command structure
and have the ability to carry out military operations.
In responding to the
government offensive, based primarily on the implementation of armed force, the
drug traffickers were forced to militarize their ranks with the integration of deserters
and acquire enough light weaponry to cope with combined forces of the Mexican Army and
Navy. The seizures of weapons capable of penetrating the body armor of Army soldiers
or destroy military ground vehicles and aircraft corroborate that view.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Nearly a million Mexicans are
directly involved in these armed conflicts. Most of the 265,000 members of the
armed forces, more than 11,000 federal police officers and about 470,000 people
involved with organized crime participate in the armed hostilities, not
counting the thousands of state and municipal police who collude with drug
These figures give us an idea
of the dimensions of the problem. We are confronting conflicts of a magnitude similar
to those in Guatemala and El Salvador during the 1980s, and we need to resort
to international humanitarian law, as we are observing the execution of war
prisoners, armed aggression against members of the Red Cross and a growing number
of collateral casualties. What we are experiencing are the horrors of war.
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