Mexico eyes legal action against ICC case "slander"

MEXICO CITY Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:57pm EST

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is exploring legal action against activists who asked the International Criminal Court to investigate officials for allowing subordinates to kill and torture civilians as the government battles against drug gangs, President Felipe Calderon's office said on Sunday.

Calderon's office called the accusations "absurd" and said the security policy of a democratic state that investigates human rights abuses could not be compared to the war crimes committed by authoritarian states.

"The allegations against the Mexican government are clearly unfounded and out of order," the statement said.

"They constitute in themselves clear slander, reckless accusations that hurt not only people and institutions, but also terribly affect the good name of Mexico, for which (the government) will explore all the alternatives to legally act against those who make them in different forums and courts, national and international," it said.

Netzai Sandoval, a human rights lawyer, filed a complaint with the ICC in The Hague on Friday, requesting an investigation into the deaths of hundreds of civilians at the hands of the military and drug traffickers in Mexico, where more than 45,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006.

The complaint, signed by 23,000 Mexican citizens, asks the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, to open a formal investigation into crimes against humanity in Mexico and names Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman as well as Calderon and his top security chiefs.

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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