Amnesty urges Jamaica to take action over 'Dudus' killings
Amnesty International has called on Jamaica to bring to justice the killers of 74 people in the capital Kingston during a state of emergency imposed a year ago to arrest a suspected gang leader.
The Jamaican authorities have failed to prosecute anyone for the killings during the operation to arrest Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who was eventually deported to the United States to face drug and arms trafficking charges.
In a report published Monday, Amnesty said its own legal experts had found that the investigation into the killings "suffered shortcomings in the initial phase which might have compromised the results".
Jamaican police and military joined forces in the bloody operation on May 24 last year in the West Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens, to arrest Coke and re-establish order in the community.
At least 74 people, including members of the security forces, were killed in the operation and more than 50 people were injured.
The Amnesty report said Jamaican police failed to protect crime scenes and crucially did not carry out ballistic tests on the firearms used in the confrontations.
"An independent commission of inquiry must be established in order to ensure that all human rights violations committed in Tivoli last year do not go unpunished like so many others in Jamaica," said Chiara Liguori, Amnesty's expert on Jamaica.
"The lack of effective investigations for human rights crimes is nothing new in Jamaica," she added.
"The reality is that for far too long, inner-city communities have been trapped between drug gangs and a state that ignores them."
© 2011 AFP