Photo: Mexican Army Human Rights Abuses Investigated
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) today delivered a “friend of the court” brief to Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice regarding international standards for limiting military jurisdiction. In the next days , Mexico’s Supreme Court will discuss several cases dealing with the military’s authority to investigate and prosecute its members for human rights violations.
The amicus brief, available on the RFK Center website, outlines the Inter-American Human Rights system’s jurisprudence on military jurisdiction. It also details the reasoning provided by the Inter-American Court and Commission for prohibiting military jurisdiction in cases of human rights violations committed by members of the military against civilians.
In December 2012 a federal judge ruled that military jurisdiction could be not applied in the case of Bonfilio Rubio Villegas, a young indigenous man who was shot and killed at a military checkpoint as he ride on a commercial bus to Mexico City. Mexico’s Department of National Defense (SEDENA) appealed the decision, arguing that it was not bound by recent decisions by the Supreme Court or the Inter-American Court. In May 2012, Mexico’s Supreme Court requested that all federal courts withdraw themselves from hearing cases of human rights violations committed by the military against civilians, including Bonfilio Rubio’s case, so that the high tribunal could discuss the cases this month.
“This is a historic opportunity for Mexico to put an end to the impunity for human rights violations,” said RFK Director for Partners for Human Rights, Santiago A. Canton. “Given the widespread reporting of violations committed by military and police forces, the decision of the Supreme Court could send a strong message to society that violations by the military and police are no longer tolerated.”