On 12 July, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) determined unanimously that the human-rights violations committed by soldiers will have to be sanctioned by civilian tribunals. The decision by the maximum tribunal of justice was had within the context of the continuation of the sentence by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) against the Mexican State in the case of Rosendo Radilla, a sentence that requires Mexico to reform its Code of Military Justice so as to harmonize it with international human-rights agreements. Both representatives of political parties as well as of civil-society organizations celebrated the decision as ‘historical.’ With this was ended the divergence in legal matters, given that Article 13 of the Mexican Constitution establishes that in crimes committed by soldiers in which is involved a civilian, such will be judged not by military tribunals; regardless, Article 57 of the Code of Military Justice contradicts this constitutional directive. Olga Sánchez Cordero, minister of SCJN, affirmed in media that the IACHR sentence is “obligatory” for the Mexican State, thus opposing an “orienting” interpretation, as has been expressed by the voices of the Ministries of Governance (Segob), National Defense (Sedena) and Navy (Semar). There still remains to be had a reform of the Code of Military Justice to observe the IACHR sentence, a task that corresponds to the legislative branch.
In the same session of the SCJN, in a 6 to 3 vote, the court declared that all Mexican judges can analyze and interpret the laws applicable to concrete cases so that their sentences do not contradict the Constitution or international human-rights conventions. With this they are obligated to analyze the compatibility of a given norm with respect to the constitutional dispositions and of international agreements signed and ratified by the Mexican State.
For more information (in Spanish):
- Red TDT: OSC celebran las resoluciones de SCJN sobre derechos humanos y jurisdicción militar (13 July 2011)
- Red TDT: La decisión de la SCJN empieza a restablecer los controles civiles sobre las Fuerzas Armadas (13 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Militares que violan garantías serán juzgados por civiles: SCJN (13 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Se trabajará para aplicar ese criterio orientador: Sedena, Marina y SG (13 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Se abona a que termine la impunidad y la justicia llegue a más casos, dice la CNDH (13 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Antecedentes del caso Rosendo Radilla (14 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Obligatoria, la sentencia de la CIDH sobre caso Radilla: ministra Sánchez (14 July 2011)
- La Jornada: En 20 meses, 31 denuncias de CNDH contra militares(14 July 2011)
- La Jornada: Fuero militar y derechos humanos (14 July 2011)
Más información de SIPAZ: