Mexico's justice system 'gravely flawed,' Amnesty says

Mexico's justice system is so flawed that some people are committing murder without being charged, while others are jailed on trumped-up charges, Amnesty says.

Amnesty International saysMexico's justice system isso flawed that some people are committing murder without being charged, while others are jailed on trumped-up charges with no chance to defend themselves.

The human rights organization releaseda damning report Wednesday, just as Mexican officials were coping with the aftermath of arash of violence and killings that has shaken its tourism industry and raised concern among countries like Canada.

"In Mexico, the criminal justice system is gravely flawed," the organization writes in the introduction to its report, called Mexico: Laws Without Justice.

"The country's law and enforcement agencies and judicial system do not effectively protect people from human rights abuses, and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice."

Amnesty International cites specific cases of torture and police intimidation in its report, as well as arrests without cause and unfair trials.

Indigenous Mexicans, the poor, women and children are most victimized by the justice system, Amnesty International says. Political activists and human rights workers are also targeted.

The report says the flaws in the justice system have caused many Mexicans to lose faith in police officers, judges, lawyers andthe system as a whole.

Amnesty International met with representatives of Mexico's government Wednesday. Amnesty wants President Felipe Calderon to address the human rights concerns addressed in the report.

Acapulco mayor addresses raging violence

Meanwhile, Acapulco's mayor was busy reassuring business leaders on Wednesday that international tourists won't be scared away by a recent rash of violence.

There have been kidnappings, beheadings and brazen daylight murders in and around the resort city of Acapulco, with most attacks said to be fuelled by a ragingdrug war.

On Tuesday, five police officers and two secretaries were killed when assassins, dressed as soldiers, barged into two state police stations in Acapulco.

"I hope this does not affect the tourist image," Mayor Felix Salgado told business leaders at a morning meeting. "We realize that these events are unpleasant, but people know that they are separate events."

Federal authorities Wednesday said they are investigating whether some of the slain officers had ties to drug traffickers and whether the killings were meant to settle scores between the rival Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels.

The two cartels are battling for control of drug trade routes used to transport Columbian cocaine to the United States.

4 Canadians killed in Mexico within year

The question of whether Mexico is safe has been on the minds of many Canadians recently after four Ontario touristswere killed there during the past year in three separate incidents.

In January, 19-year-old Adam DePrisco from Woodbridge, Ont., was killed in Acapulco. A Mexican doctor blamed the teenager's death on a hit-and-run accident, but his family and friends allege he was beaten to death.

Also in January, a man from Chatham, Ont., was struck by a car and killed in Guadalajara.

In February 2006, Domenic and Nancy Ianiero —also of Woodbridge — were found slain in their room at a resort near Cancun. Their deaths remain unsolved.

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay is currently in Mexico, discussing tourism safety issues with Mexican officials.

Canada'sDepartment of Foreign Affairs says Canadians should exercise caution and prudence at all times when travelling in Mexico.

Details of the government's warnings are outlined in a travel report last updated on Feb. 5 and found on the Foreign Affairs Department website.