Inter-American Court of Human Rights Compels Mexican Government to Enact Broader Human Rights Reforms
January 5, 2011 | From the field | Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is demanding reforms to Mexican legislation to protect citizens from human rights abuses by the military. Two decisions by the Court in the past 14 months in cases litigated by MacArthur grantees Centro de Derechos Humanos "Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez" and Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos have ramped up pressure on Mexico’s government to reform its Code of Military Justice. The first case, a 2009 ruling by the Court against the government in the case of Rosando Radilla, condemned the government for its complicity in Radilla’s disappearance and called on Mexican authorities to adopt reforms that would guarantee that cases of human rights violations committed by the military be dealt with in civilian courts. As a result, Mexico’s Congress drafted legislation in 2010, but advocates felt the bill was lacking in that it excluded only three types of crimes from military jurisdiction. A more recent and related ruling by the InterAmerican Court in December 2010 granted reparations to two environmental activists who were tortured by the military into admitting to crimes they did not commit. This ruling decreed that the government must enact stricter reforms that ban all human rights crimes from military jurisdiction. Both judgments are legally binding and not subject to appeal.

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