Friday, February 26, 2016

Human rights in Mexican law

The American Society of International Law website has this excellent report by Global Military Justice Reform contributor Christina Cerna on the status of human rights treaties in Mexican domestic law. She concludes:
In compliance with the Inter-American Court’s judgment in Radilla Pacheco, on June 13, 2014, the Mexican Congress published its military justice reform decree in the Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación). This decree provided, inter alia, that human rights violations and other crimes committed by military personnel against civilians will now be subject to prosecution in civilian, not military courts. The Inter-American Court, in Radilla Pacheco and a number of other cases, has consistently held that military courts do not have the competence to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of human rights violations. Taking human rights cases out of the hands of military courts is a major strike against the impunity inherent in the Mexican military justice system. 
Human rights groups have expressed concern about provision of reformed Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution that the enjoyment of human rights may be restricted or suspended, in cases and under conditions established by the Constitution, which was echoed in the Supreme Court’s judgment, and has been interpreted by Amnesty International, for example, as a step backwards in the protection of human rights.[6] The charge is that the Supreme Court should have affirmed the pro persona principle in this context rather than emphasizing the alleged priority of the restrictions in the Constitution over international treaties. 
These are issues that will be resolved in the future. Suffice it to say that Mexico has engineered an extraordinary transformation of its internal legal system placing human rights at the center of concern of its Constitution and laws. Its acceptance of the obligatory force not only of the judgments but also the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is a shining example of best practices.

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