Three soldiers from Mexican troops have been charged with homicide, where they will be forced to face a civilian trial and five other soldiers will be charged, in addition to the three, with improper conduct. Allegedly the soldiers were involved in the deaths of 22 suspected gang members who died in a shootout. They are currently being held in a military prison in Mexico City, where they will await a trial by a civilian judge, prompted by the National Human Rights Commission.
Mexico’s National Human Right’s Commission suspect seven Mexican soldiers of being responsible for the deaths of 22 gang members. In a shootout that happened in a rural community by Mexico City, the seven suspected soldiers killed many on June 30, however, their official statement of what happened did not collaborate with the eye-witness statements. The NHRC said that according to statements, 15 of the 22 killed were actually killed after the confrontation took place. They also stated that the soldiers, not only did not do right by their actions, but they had also apparently tried to cover up what happened. One witness stated that the gang members had already surrendered before they were shot. Those who visited the warehouse after also stated that there was no evidence of a shootout, as bullet holes were at chest level and had looked like the gang members had been shot from close up. Police then arrested the seven soldiers on Friday, but said that only three were charged with actual homicide, while the others were held responsible for “actions improper to the public service.”
A civilian judge rules that they remain in military prison, during further investigation, until they are able to have a civilian trial. Other nations are currently helping with the investigation into Mexico, especially after the disappearance of 43 college students in Guerrero state. The United Nations, the United States, and the European Union are all keeping a close eye on Mexican soldiers, due to the suspicious events that have happened in the last several months.
Over the years the Mexican drug wars have claimed more than 80,000 lives. According to sources, if the Mexican soldiers are found guilty, it would make this killing of 22 one of the worst slayings since the year 2006. Among the 22 people killed, one was a 15-year-old girl, whose mother was a witness to the matter. Citizens are outraged, stating that this murder, though the soldiers claim it was a shootout, was nothing more than killing in cold blood.
The three soldiers that are being charged with murder are not currently being charged for all 22 accounts. The remaining Mexican soldiers, though they will not face homicide charges, are being charged for allowing the murders to take place. No official date has been set for the trial, but residents in Mexico are anxiously awaiting the trial as hostility against the Mexican army grows. After the suspicion that Mexican soldiers were involved in the disappearance of the 43 college students, who have still not been returned, residents are becoming even more untrusting of the control that the soldiers seem to have in that area. As investigators continue to look into all matters that the Mexican soldiers have been accused of, foreign nations have given their full cooperation in helping maintain the matter, as well. Currently the seven Mexican soldiers implicated in the murder of 22 gang members await a civilian trial pending the investigation.
By Crystal Boulware