Mexican Court Requires Civilian Trials for Human Rights Violations by Military
August 25, 2011 | From the field | Human Rights

In July, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that members of the military accused of human rights violations be tried in civilian courts. The ruling, 37 years in the making, is expected to go a long way to reducing the frequency of human rights violations committed by the military. Since 2006, formal complaints against the military for human rights violations have increased dramatically, up from a total of only 182 complaints in that year to a cumulative total of more than 4,800 today. Accountability for these violations, which have included executions, rapes and other abuses, has been almost non-existent through military courts and is expected to increase in civilian trials. The Supreme Court's ruling is a direct result of the work of MacArthur grantees, particularly the Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos (Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights), which for more than a decade pursued the case of Rosenda Radilla Pacheco. Pacheco disappeared at a Mexican military checkpoint in 1974 - a victim of the government's "Dirty War" (its effort to crush opposition movements through military tactics).

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