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Mexico report blames government for crimes against humanity in 'dirty war'

[JURIST] Former Mexican Presidents Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1964-1970) [Wikipedia backgrounder], Luis Echeverria (1970-1976) [JURIST news archive], and Jose Lopez Portillo (1976-1982) [Wikipedia backgrounder] were responsible for "crimes against humanity" in connection with the massacres and tortures of hundreds of leftist activists during the 1960s and 1970s, according to an official report [PDF] released Saturday by the Mexican government [official website]. The report reflects five years of investigations [JURIST report] by special prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo into Mexico's "dirty war" [National Security Archive backgrounder] and found that government under the three presidents took part in "massacres, forced disappearances, systematic torture and genocide to try to destroy a sector of society that it considered ideologically to be its enemy."

The worst of the crimes against humanity were allegedly committed during Luis Echeverria's "Friendship Operation," when the military tortured and gunned down villagers in the state of Guerrero and set fire to their homes and property. Carrillo's report also focused on the 1968 massacre [backgrounder; BBC report] during a student-led revolt in Mexico City, thought to be organized by Echeverria, who was Interior Minister for then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz. The report found that top officials, including the presidents, knew of and authorized these and other crimes against leftist leaders, and did nothing to stop them. AP has more.

In July, a Mexican judge cleared Echeverria [JURIST report] of genocide charges in connection with his role in repressing the 1968 revolt, ruling that the charges could not stand because Mexico's statute of limitations had run. Echeverria is the only one of the three ex-Presidents still living and has denied his involvement in the massacre.

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