Mexico to Allow Compensation Claims for Organized Crime Victims

The members of Congress in Mexico recently voted unanimously to approve a bill which ensures compensation claims can be made by the victims of organised-crime which happens within Mexico’s borders. The law will create a national body which will be tasked with recording crimes which happen of this nature, including forced disappearances and kidnapping. The new body will also be tasked with overseeing the financial, legal, and medical support which is offered to the victims of organised-crime. Since 2006, it is estimated that around 50,000 people died in crimes which were drug-related and happened since President Felipe Calderon began deploying soldiers to combat organised-crime.

Under the new legislation, relatives of the people who have been forcibly disappeared or kidnapped in organised crime can now initiate compensation claims. Also allowed to start claims are those who had been kidnapped or sustained personal injury as a result of organised crime. Finally, people will be able to claim compensation for any abuse of human rights which were breached by the security forces of Mexico.

A national registry is set to be created in order to record and document the crimes and set aside appropriate amounts of compensation with a maximum value being set at $70,000. The Chamber of Deputies passed the new legislation unanimously to which activists spectating from the gallery at the time shouted and applauded enthusiastically, calling “not one more death”. The law has now also been passed by Senate and will reach the final stage of its journey when it appears in front of President Felipe Calderon who has already expressed that he supports the initiative entirely. Among the numerous campaigners for the bill is the poet Javier Sicilia who lost his son along with six friends last year to such incidences.

It is though, at this stage, that one major hurdle will be for the victims of the crimes to provide evidence in a court of law, going against the organised crime gang members. This fear of appraisals is, apparently, enough to stop some cases from ever managing to reach the courts.

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