Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mexico High Court Limits Military Jurisdiction in Rights Cases

The Latin American Herald Tribune reports that Mexico’s Supreme Court has reduced the armed forces’ privilege to have cases involving alleged abuses by soldiers heard in military courts.  This ruling comes in obedience to a 2009 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a case brought on behalf of Rosendo Radilla, who was “disappeared” by Mexico’s military in 1974.  The Inter-American tribunal urged the Mexican government to modify its Code of Military Justice to ensure it is compatible with “international standards on the subject” and the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.  The Mexican justices ruled that, in the event of a jurisdictional dispute between civilian and military tribunals in a specific case, it will be up to the Supreme Court to decide where it should be heard.  The article points out that the issues of rights abuses by the military has taken on special urgency since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of army soldiers and other federal forces to battle heavily armed, well-funded drug cartels.