Congress Unanimously Approves Legislation Requiring That Civilian Courts Try Criminal Complaints against Military Personnel

By Navarro, Carlos | SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico, May 7, 2014 | Go to article overview

Congress Unanimously Approves Legislation Requiring That Civilian Courts Try Criminal Complaints against Military Personnel


Navarro, Carlos, SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico


The Senate and Chamber of Deputies each unanimously approved changes to Mexico's military code that would allow civilian courts to try members of the armed forces when a crime is committed against civilians. Under the new guidelines, approved in April in both legislative chambers, military prosecutors are obligated to turn cases over to civilian courts when where a member of the armed forces has committed a violation that should be heard outside the jurisdiction of a military court.

The change is seen as an important step in addressing what had been considered a major deficiency in the protection of human rights in Mexico. While the military has been implicated in the violation of civilian rights in Mexico through the years (SourceMex, Aug. 13, 1997, July 21, 1999, Oct. 16, 2002, and Nov. 12, 2003), the situation worsened during the administration of ex-President Felipe Calderon, who made extensive use of the military in drug-interdiction efforts. Soldiers and marines not only went after drug traffickers during those years but also committed acts of violence and torture against civilians (SourceMex, Feb. 20, 2008).

International and domestic human rights organizations argued that complaints about military abuses were going to military courts, where they were dismissed or addressed with leniency (SourceMex, Aug. 12, 2009). Because of these concerns, advocates made a strong push to bring cases of human rights violations by military personnel to civilian courts. The pressure from these organizations might have prompted Calderon to make the first strong push to move the military violations to civilian court (SourceMex, Nov. 3, 2010).

The unanimous vote in both houses of Congress is an indication of broad support for the changes by all the major and minor parties in Congress. "We are obligated to work for better protections for citizens within the legal framework, meeting our commitments to respect human rights as spelled out by the Constitution and international treaties," the delegation of the center-left Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD) in the lower house said in a statement on the eve of the vote on April 30.

Deputy Jose Duarte Murillo, a member of the governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and secretary of the national defense committee (Comision de Defensa Nacional) in the lower house, said the legislation was drafted with broad input from a broad cross section of experts. "We included the opinions of academics, the military, and domestic and international organizations to develop this new system of protection of human rights."

Legislators said the process was deliberate, to ensure the most complete debate on the issue. "We did not rush anything," said Sen. Fernando Yunes Marquez of the center-right Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) and chair of the national defense committee in the upper house.

An important step

Advocates of human rights at home and abroad lauded the new legislation as an important step in protecting human rights in Mexico. Still, some experts said the Mexican Congress and the executive might not have acted without strong pressure from the outside.

"This has not been a process guided by technical and legal considerations," said Daniel Marquez Gomez, a member of the faculty at the Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas (IIJ), which is affiliated with the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). "This has been the result of a series of legal actions based on concrete violations of human rights. This is a byproduct of painful actions that we hope will not be repeated ever again."

Marquez Gomez pointed in particular to a milestone verdict handed down by the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2009, which held the Mexican government responsible for the disappearance of Rosendo Radilla Pacheco in 1974 (SourceMex, Nov. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Congress Unanimously Approves Legislation Requiring That Civilian Courts Try Criminal Complaints against Military Personnel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.