The military obtains no operational benefit from torturing or raping potential witnesses. Indeed, it generally serves only to turn the civilian population against the security forces, and reduce locals’ willingness to cooperate.I hasten to add that even if such practices were beneficial, they should still be punished with all due vigor.
Similarly, summary executions of suspected criminals may cut through the red tape and eliminate the possibility that the suspect is released without a conviction, but it also means that that the witness in question cannot be persuaded to inform or work as an undercover agent for the government. In many cases, it seems that the army has put bullets into people who could have provided a wealth of information regarding the Mexico’s criminal threats.
The military is one of the public institutions that enjoys the highest levels of trust in Mexico, and civil prosecutions of soldiers may well undermine that prestige to a certain degree. However, the real long-term threat to the military’s enviable reputation is not the prosecution of a small (and hopefully diminishing) number of bad apples, but rather the steady drumbeat of reported violations coupled with the failure to hold the guilty parties accountable.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
On the Supreme Court Decision
I wrote a piece pushing back at those who are unhappy with the Supreme Court's decision for InSight Crime. Here's the gist: