National/International: Inter-American Court resolves that Mexican law on military tribunals remains inadequate

June 9, 2015

On 13 and 14 May, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) published two resolutions regarding the observance of four sentences the Court had handed down against the Mexican State (2009 and 2010), in cases related to abuses committed by Army soldiers (including forcible disappearance, torture, and sexual violence). The Court concludes that exist legislation on military tribunals continues without having standardized with international legal expectations.

The Court indicates that the limitations of existing law were demonstrated clearly by the Tlatlaya massacre in Mexico State: “In this case, if it is that the extrajudicial executions continue to be judged in civil courts, the cause will remain fragmented, as the Secretary for National Defense (SEDENA) has retained the military tribunal as appropriate for the judgment of certain crimes committed by soldiers, thus opening the possibility that the evidence be diverted, and that parallel cases may run, coming to different conclusions.” It determined for this reason that “military jurisdiction is not competent for the investigation, judgment, and punishment of those who violate human rights, particularly when either the perpetrator or victim is a soldier.”

For their part, civil legal organizations have requested that the debate on the Military Justice Code be opened during the next congressional session. They have stressed that “both the Committee against Forcible Disappearances and the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatments have recommended that Mexico adopt legal measures to exclude human rights violations committed by soldiers from being considered by military tribunals. Instead, these acts must be investigated and judged by civilian authorities.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Fuero militar sigue violando derechos humanos en México: Corte Interamericana (OSC, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Emplaza CoIDH a México cumplir sentencias sobre abusos militares(Proceso, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Insuficiente, la reforma en materia de fuero militar: CIDH (La Jornada, 18 de mayo de 2015)

Reforma al fuero militar en México no cumple la norma internacional: Corte Interamericana de DH (Animal Político, 20 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Senate approves reform to Military Justice Code (2 May 2014)


Guerrero/National: SCJN examines IACHR sentence in the case of Inés and Valentina, indigenous women who were raped by the military in 2002

May 3, 2015

Inés y Valentina (@Tlachinollan)Inés and Valentina (@Tlachinollan)

On 21 April, the plenary of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) began a discussion regarding the sentence provided by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in August 2010 which condemned the Mexican State for the violation of the human rights of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, indigenous women who were sexually assaulted by soldiers in Guerrero state in 2002.

Valentina and Inés have requested that the SCJN treat their case as it did the Radilla case (a forcible disappearance, also from Guerrero state) to determine the obligations of the judiciary amidst the sentences emitted by the IACHR.  They believe that the discussion within the Supreme Court is critically important, as this could lead to penal processes against soldiers with a focus on sexual torture and the administration of justice with a sensitivity to matters of gender and ethnicity, among other questions.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has provided counsel for the two indigenous women, has declared that the process of debate “opens the possibility that the SCJN would recognize the symbolic struggle for justice that both women have undertaken, and to hand down criteria that would help indigenous women experience better conditions in their search for justice.  Above all, it would contribute to the cause of having sexual torture by investigated and adequately judged in Mexico.”

However, during one of the initial sessions, the SCJN decided to exclude from consideration the constitutionality of part II of the new article 57 of the Military Justice Code, which has to do with military tribunals.  Civil-society organizations present at the session expressed their concern due to this evident lack of concern for a deep analysis of the question.

For more information (in Spanish):

COMUNICADO “Inicia la SCJN discusión sobre las obligaciones del Poder Judicial de la Federación frente a las sentencias dictadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en los casos de Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo” (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 21 de abril de 2015)

Discute SCJN sentencia de CIDH por violación a indígenas en 2002 (La Jornada, 21 de abril de 2015)

Resoluciones de COIDH son obligatorias (El Universal, 21 de abril de 2015)

SCJN no revisará ley militar en caso de Valentina Rosendo e Inés Fernández (La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Beginning of legal processes against soldiers presumed to be responsible in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo (15 January 2014)

Guerrero: NGOs call on Peña Nieto to observe the sentences on Inés Fernández y Valentina Rosendo (5 February 2013)

Guerrero: Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández receive recognitions of their struggle (16 November 2012)

Guerrero – briefs: Mexican State recognizes responsibility in case of Valentina Rosendo (21 December 2011)


National: Senate approves reform to Military Justice Code

May 2, 2014

(@Centro ProDH)

(@ProDH Center)

On 24 April 2014, the Senate of the Republic unanimously approved a reform to the Military Justice Code and another four bills limiting military tribunals in cases in which members of the Armed Forced commit any crime against civilians, they must be tried in civil courts, not military ones.  This reform is a response to the demands and recommendations made by Mexican and international human-rights organizations for more than 8 years.  It still needs the approval of both legislative houses.

Speaking to this reform, the UN Office in Mexico of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed the “open, participatory, and inclusive character that has been the predominant sign of the process of discussion and preparation of the bill, which finally ended up having significant legislative support.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acotan senadores fuero militar (El Universal, 24 de abril de 2014)

Por unanimidad, aprueba el Senado reforma que acota el fuero militar(Proceso, 24 de abril de 2014)

El Senado aprueba una reforma que limita el fuero militar (CNN México, 24 de abril de 2014)

Avala el Senado reforma que acota el fuero militar (La Jornada, 24 de abril de 2014)

Apoya ONU acotamiento del fuero militar + comunicado completo(Aristegui Noticias, 25 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Human-rights organizations call on Senate to reform military justice system (5 October 2013)

Mexico: Civil society calls on SCJN to consolidate restriction of military tribunals (28 September 2012)

Guerrero: SCJN orders that the Bonfilio Rubio case be tried in civil court (27 August 2012)

National: NGOs request that SCJN resolve affairs relating to military tribunals in 32 cases (17 June 2012)


Mexico: Human-rights organizations call on Senate to reform military justice system

October 5, 2013

Audiencias públicas sobre justicia militar en el Senado (@PAN)Within the context of the public audiences regarding military courts carried out between 24 and 27 September 2013 in the Senate of the Republic, national human-rights organizations called on the present legislature to pass reforms as soon as possible to restrict the use of military tribunals in accordance with international standards.  By means of a communique, these organizations indicated that said reform should observe the four sentences emitted by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) and the recommendations made by different international human-rights mechanisms affiliated with the United Nations, as well as those advanced by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).

Amnesty International (AI) publicly expressed its support for the Mexican organizations, claiming that “due to its lack of impartiality and independence, military justice has proven to be an obstacle in the struggle to put an end to the impunity of human-rights violations committed by armed forces.”

With regard to the public audiences, Javier Hernández Valencia, representative of the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights, stressed that “the military courts should be limited, that is, the human rights violations committed by soldiers should be judged in civilian tribunals.”  Valencia questioned the senators why it is that “there has been excluded the term human rights or persons within the proposed reform, for it is important that this definition be included in the changes that you will carry out.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Pronunciamiento de organizaciones civiles: Reformas al Código de Justicia Militar deben ser conformes con las obligaciones de México: organizaciones de derechos humanos (27 de septiembre de 2013)

Pide AI a Senado reformar justicia militar (El Universal, 27 de septiembre de 2013)

Emplazan al Senado a reformar justicia militar (Proceso, 27 de septiembre de 2013)

El fuero militar debe ser acotado ante violaciones a civiles: ONU (La Jornada, 25 de septiembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Civil society calls on SCJN to consolidate restriction of military tribunals (28 September 2012)

Guerrero: SCJN orders that the Bonfilio Rubio case be tried in civil court (27 August 2012)

National: NGOs request that SCJN resolve affairs relating to military tribunals in 32 cases (17 June 2012)