Jan 5, 2012

Drug War Bloodshed: Mexico Attorney General's Office says it will release death toll numbers when they are verified by the states

For the past year, the Mexican federal government has not released statistics on deaths in the drug war. La Reforma newspaper just released its own count for 2011: 12,000. 

As the result of a citizens' request for information--under Mexico's relatively new Transparency Law--the government announced that it will now do so. As homicide is a state, not a federal crime, this means gathering information from each of the thirty-one states. It may be deduced from the article that the 'facts' were probably "non-eixstent" because there was no system in place for collecting them. This, in turn, may be because no one in the federal government wanted to know--or have any responsibility for--what happens at the state level.

If the stated data collection is carried out and released, it will mark a significant step forward in a number of aspects of the Mexican government functioning more democratically: in the effectiveness of citizen action; in consequent government transparency--specifically in collecting and publishing very important facts; and in coordination between the federal and state justice systems, which is poor but increasingly being challenged by the realities of the drug war.  

Translated by MexicoBlog

El Universal: The Mexico Attorney General's Office says death toll numbers in the drug war for 2011 will be "declassifed" and released when they are verified by the states. Under the fededal Transparency Law, citizens have sought the numbers but were first told that the numbers were non-existent. After this was appealed, the Attorney General´s Office changed its reponse, saying the numbers were "confidential.

Now, working with the National Conference of State Attorneys General, it has created a national data base, 'Homicides Presumed Due to Criminal Rivalry'. This data base is fed by state attorneys and prosecutors." Spanish original

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