Thu, Jul 24, 2003 - Page 6 News List

Killings get Mexico City's attention

AP , MEXICO CITY

Mexico's Attorney General and Interior Minister traveled to Ciudad Juarez to unveil a 40-part federal plan to halt a string of murders that have claimed the lives of hundreds of women in the border city since 1993.

At a Tuesday ceremony full of sweeping promises but containing few specific details, the pair announced the creation of a special commission assigned to investigate the slayings already committed and stop new killings.

Interior Minister Santiago Creel said the commission's main task will be to bring accountability to investigators assigned to the Juarez cases and to promote economic and social development in the area that will help protect would-be victims from future attacks.

Creel said the new commission would report back to his office and to Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and will be supported by officials in more than 20 federal agencies.

The attorney general's office reports that 258 women have been killed over the past decade in the city of 1.3-million across the border from El Paso, Texas.

That tally includes the sexually motivated killings of at least 93 young women, as well as the cases of more than 150 other females who have been killed under other circumstances.

Mexico's independent National Commission on Human Rights had said it documented 232 such murders. Other non-governmental groups have estimated the number of victims at more than 300.

Macedo de la Concha said greater cooperation between federal, state and local authorities will streamline the investigation process and help better prevent the killings of more women in Juarez.

"The divisions within government shouldn't be an obstacle to responding to society's demands," he said.

Fighting crime is the responsibility of everyone and we will assume that responsibility collectively" he said.

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