Mexico to compensate crime victims

Mexico's Congress approved a bill to set up funds to compensate thousands of victims of the country's ongoing drug war.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the measure amid chants and tears from relatives of kidnap and murder victims sitting in the visitor balconies.

Among them was poet Javier Sicilia, an outspoken activist whose son was slain along with seven friends in March 2011.

The bill, which was earlier approved in the Senate, now goes to President Felipe Calderon to be signed into law.

The fund will initially have $20.5 million, said Justice Committee head Humberto Benitez Trevino. Some 70,000 people could potentially receive compensation, Benitez Trevino said.

The measure also sets up a national registry of crime victims.

More than 50,000 people have been killed over the past years in the government crackdown on the country's violent drug cartels. Most of those killed were victims of turf wars between cartels.

Thousands of people have also vanished, been kidnapped or were wounded in the violence, according to government figures.

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