NGO Urges Calderón to Limit Military Jurisdiction
RFK Center urges compliance with Merida Initiative human rights conditions
Mexico City, Mexico – The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) this week delivered a letter to President Felipe Calderón urging him to comply with the conditions established by the United States Congress for this country on human rights compliance as a requirement to receive Merida Initiative funding.
The letter focuses on the violations committed by military personnel and lack of access to justice due to the permanence of military jurisdiction, which contravenes the judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú.
Published in La Reforma on June 29, 2012 – original article in Spanish http://images.reforma.com/nacional/articulo/663/1324780/
"To date, the investigations in both cases continue without showing progress; those responsible in the Military have not been delivered to appropriate authorities, despite having been identified in 2009 by the victims," reported the RFK Center.
The letter describes the complicated path towards prohibiting the application of military jurisdiction in cases of human rights violations, including the failed attempts to reform the Military Code of Justice and the absence of an executive order by President Calderón to restrict its application.
Given the situation, says the letter, we await for [Mexico’s] Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to establish jurisprudence on the limits of military jurisdiction when the high court hears 28 cases on the subject, including the suit brought by the family of Bonfilio Rubio Villegas, an indigenous person extra judicially executed by soldiers in June 2009.
Salvador Sarmiento, a lawyer at the RFK Center, said the President informed them of the receipt of the letter and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with them, but made no comment or commitment about it.
"While we recognize the efforts of public officials to advance specific cases, it is clear that there has been no military justice reform as required under the Mexican Constitution, the decisions of the Inter-American Court, and the commitments in the bilateral agreement with the United States," said Sarmiento.
The lawyer insisted that the President assume and fulfill his commitment in the latter part of his administration.
"We feel that the government of President Calderón has missed key opportunities to strengthen the reform: an inadequate proposal in 2010, the lack of an [executive] order in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the [Military’s] appeal in the landmark decision in the Bonfilio Rubio Villegas case in 2012. Now, in these last months of his term, we hope he takes decisive actions to strengthen the progress already made," he said.