Upcoming Event | Taking Stock of Mexico’s Transformation to an Adversarial System of Justice: Accomplishments, Future Challenges, and Lessons Learned since 2008

justice - gavel and bookWHEN: Monday, July 25, 10:00am-1:00pm

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP

Mexico recently completed an eight year process that has transformed the federal and state justice systems from an inquisitorial to an adversarial one. This process began in 2008 with the adoption of constitutional and criminal procedural reform and was completed in June 2016. Please join the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute for our conference “Taking Stock of Mexico’s Transformation to an Adversarial System of Justice: Accomplishments, Future Challenges, and Lessons Learned since 2008.

Featuring a Keynote Address by:
The Honorable Arely Gómez Gónzalez
Mexico’s Attorney General

Welcoming Remarks
Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne
Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
Public Policy Fellow, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Followed by an Expert Panel on Mexico’s Transition to an Adversarial Justice System
Layda Negrete
Coordinator, Quality of Justice Project, México Evalúa

Maria Novoa
Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. (CIDAC)

Miguel Sarre, LLM
Professor, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

David Shirk
Professor, Director, Mexico in Justice Project, University of San Diego
Global Fellow, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Moderator:
Eric L. Olson
Special Advisor for Security Policy, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
Associate Director, Latin American Program, Wilson Center

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The Missing Forty-Three: The Mexican Government Sabotages Its Own Independent Investigation

4/22/16 The New Yorker

Oaxaca por Ayotzinapa

The official scenario, according to the Mexican government, of what befell the forty-three students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School, in Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state, on the night and morning of September 26 and 27, 2014, is generally referred to as the “historical truth.” Say those words anywhere in Mexico, and people know what you mean. The phrase comes from a press conference held in January, 2015, when the head of the government’s Procuraduría General de la República (P.G.R.) at the time, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, announced that the forty-three students had been incinerated at a trash dump near the town of Cocula by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug-trafficking gang, after being turned over to them by members of the Iguala municipal police. This, he declared, was the “historical truth.”

As had already been widely reported, the forty-three students were among a larger group of militantly leftist students who, that night in Iguala, had commandeered buses to transport themselves to an upcoming protest in Mexico City. They’d driven from Ayotzinapa that afternoon in two buses they’d previously taken, and then, the government said, they took two more from Iguala’s bus station. Three other people were killed in initial clashes with the police, and most likely with other forces, in Iguala that night; many more were injured. According to Murillo Karam, the “historical truth” was partly drawn from the confessions of detained police and drug-gang members, including some who admitted that they had participated in the massacre of the students at the Cocula dump, and claimed to have tended the fire and disposed of the remains afterward. Some of those remains had allegedly been deposited by gang members in a nearby creek. Nineteen severely charred bone fragments had been sent to a highly specialized lab in Innsbruck, Austria, which had yielded one positive DNA identification, of a student named Alexander Mora Venancio. That identification seemed to support the P.G.R.’s story that the students had been killed at the dump.

Read more… 

New Report on Judicial Reform by Justice in Mexico

justice in mexico logoBy David A. Shirk and Octavio Rodriguez Ferreira, Justice in Mexico

October 8, 2015

On October 8, 2015, Justice in Mexico launched a new report that provides a deep analysis of the current process of judicial reform in Mexico. The Criminal Procedure Reform in Mexico 2008-2016, by authors Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira and David A. Shirk, analyzes the process of implementing judicial reform in Mexico as well as the impacts of the reform on the federal and state level, as well as some of the past, present and future challenges to implementation efforts. Overall, the authors find that despite obstacles to the reform’s implementation, significant progress has been made and will continue in the years to come.

In 2008 the Mexican Congress approved an eight-year process to improve the criminal justice system, in a reform known as the New Criminal Justice System (Nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal, NSJP). The NSJP will replace the traditional mixed inquisitorial justice system with a more efficient adversarial model. The new system will be operational throughout the country by June 18, 2016.

Read the report…

Mexico marks legal milestone as soldier jailed for disappearance

8/18/15 Reuters

APTOPIX Mexico Election ViolenceA Mexican judge on Tuesday convicted and ordered a soldier jailed in connection with the disappearance of a civilian in a northern border state, a legal milestone in a country torn by an almost decade-old war between security forces and drug gangs. The unidentified soldier was given a sentence of 31 years for the kidnapping of the victim in May 2012 in the state of Nuevo Leon, according to a statement from the federal court system. The victim, also not identified, has not been located.

It was the first case in which a soldier was found guilty of the disappearance of a civilian.

A series of Supreme Court decisions since 2011 paved the way for civilian trials of military personnel, and lawmakers passed a law making the “forced disappearance,” or kidnapping by members of state security forces, a crime.

Read more…

Upcoming Event! Advancing Justice Sector Reform in Mexico

justice - gavel and bookWHEN: Friday, June 26, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s deadline to fully implement new, adversarial criminal trial procedures is less than one year away. The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has pushed strongly to comply with the constitutionally mandated shift to the new criminal justice system by June 18, 2015, particularly in light of the country’s ongoing security challenges. Together with the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico program, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a panel discussion to examine current efforts to implement the new reforms. The discussion will include a presentation of recent survey data on the views of judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and police, as well as insights from a delegation of visiting law professors attorneys from Mexico’s National Autonomous University as part of the Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) funded by the Mérida Initiative. This program will be conducted in English and Spanish.

Speakers:

“Justice in Mexico: The Road Traveled and the Road Ahead”
David Shirk, Global Fellow, Mexico Institute; Professor, University of San Diego

“Progress Report: Judicial Reform Implementation in Mexico”
Octavio Rodriguez, Esq., Coordinator, Justice in Mexico, University of San Diego

“La preparación de la próxima generación de abogados en México”
Leoba Castañeda, Dean, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

“Algunos retos para el nuevo sistema penal”
Alberto Del Castillo Del Valle, Professor, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Comments:

Daniel Schneider, Professor, School of International Service, American University

Click here to RSVP.

UPCOMING EVENT! Advancing Justice Reform Sector in Mexico

justice - gavel and bookWHEN: Friday, June 26, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s deadline to fully implement new, adversarial criminal trial procedures is less than one year away. The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has pushed strongly to comply with the constitutionally mandated shift to the new criminal justice system by June 18, 2015, particularly in light of the country’s ongoing security challenges. Together with the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico program, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a panel discussion to examine current efforts to implement the new reforms. The discussion will include a presentation of recent survey data on the views of judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and police, as well as insights from a delegation of visiting law professors attorneys from Mexico’s National Autonomous University as part of the Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) funded by the Mérida Initiative. This program will be conducted in English and Spanish.

Speakers:

“Justice in Mexico: The Road Traveled and the Road Ahead”
David Shirk, Global Fellow, Mexico Institute; Professor, University of San Diego

“Progress Report: Judicial Reform Implementation in Mexico”
Octavio Rodriguez, Esq., Coordinator, Justice in Mexico, University of San Diego

“La preparación de la próxima generación de abogados en México”
Leoba Castañeda, Dean, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

“Algunos retos para el nuevo sistema penal”
Alberto Del Castillo Del Valle, Professor, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Comments:

Daniel Schneider, Professor, School of International Service, American University

NEW PUBLICATION: Violence and Citizen Participation in Mexico: From the Polls to the Streets

By Sandra Ley

Resilient Communities Series15How do citizens cope politically with violence? In the face of rising insecurity, Mexican citizens, particularly victims, have poured into the streets to demand an end to violence and ask for peace and justice. However, as organized crime groups attempt to influence local elections and target political candidates and public officials, citizens have not felt equally encouraged to cast ballots on election day.

Elections in Mexico, as well as in other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Guatemala, have been marked by criminal violence. Voters, public officials, and candidates alike have been threatened or attacked by organized crime groups. It is, therefore, important to examine how violence shapes various forms of participation. This paper seeks to provide a broad view of political participation in the midst of Mexico’s current security crisis, with the goal of understanding the effects of violence on civic activism.

This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Read the publication here…