Mexico City – Prominent Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and other activists urged President Felipe Calderon's administration to create a truth commission to examine the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 40,000 lives since December 2006.
In statements to reporters, Sicilia said that "autonomous, citizen-based entity" could be used to "establish the public task of bringing visibility to all the victims, innocent or guilty, and monitor fulfillment of that goal."
He said that organization also would be responsible for monitoring criminal investigations and the process of compensating the families of innocent victims.
The poet and journalist has led peace marches to demand a change in Calderon's military-based drug-war strategy since the March 27 murder of his son Juan Francisco Sicilia and six other young men in the central state of Morelos.
Sicilia also has been critical of the Mexican justice system and the rampant impunity for serious crimes.
Although two Pacifico Sur drug cartel leaders in Morelos and 18 associates have been charged with the murders of his son and the six other young men, he said it is shameful that thorough investigations only are seen in high-profile cases.
"This should be the way all the prosecutors do their jobs on a daily basis ... this case is an exception," the poet said in a press conference Sunday to discuss the prosecutions.
"It's not possible that just 2 percent of the cases taken up (by prosecutors in Mexico) end up solved," Sicilia said.
The poet said Thursday after a ceremony establishing a mechanism for work and dialogue between the government and citizens' groups - agreed upon at a meeting between the poet and Calderon on June 23 - that truth commissions normally are formed after a "tragic period has ended."
"Here we're trying to create one when we're in the middle of the process. That can maybe help stop the 'war,' this evil called 'war,' because it's really a disaster," said Sicilia, who founded the group Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity after his son's death.
In statements to Efe, another MPJD member, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, said a truth commission is necessary because "there's not even a precise figure on how many people have died" in recent years in turf battles among drug mobs over smuggling routes and clashes between the cartels and security forces.
But Alvarez, a former head of the Mexico City human rights commission, said the possibility of creating the panel "is not a 'sine qua non' for making progress" in the dialogue mechanisms set up Thursday.
According to the activist, Peru's 2003 truth commission - which analyzed the decades of politically motivated violence that followed the 1980 uprising of the Shining Path guerrilla group - is "far and away" the most advanced model because it tackles the problems not only from the point of view of the perpetrators but also the victims.
That way "you can analyze both state and non-state agents. That formula allows you to solve all sides of the problem," Alvarez said.
But the country's interior minister, Francisco Blake, said he does not see the need to form a new entity because Mexico has "very solid institutions" such as the National Human Rights Commission, the country's equivalent of an Ombud's Office.
Citizens also can refer cases to regional bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or the San Jose, Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights and they have legal recourse if they believe treaties ratified by Mexico are not being honored, he said.
"I think there are formal institutions ... which provide a channel for those claims and those complaints and I think (we should go) that route," Blake said. EFE/Alex Cruz