Source: En Vero Spanish
Author: Alina Allende
May 14, 2018 (Original publication in Spanish on March 20, 2017)
Translation: Jorge B.
Former UN rapporteur suggests that further reforms to the criminal justice system are needed to eradicate torture in Mexico
On Monday, March 13, 2017, the former United Nations Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan Méndez, gave a conference on his work experience in Mexico. During the event, the former UN Rapporteur said that while measures have been taken to improve the shortcomings in the prison system, Mexico still has an extremely high level of impunity regarding human rights violations.
The conference, entitled “The Jurisdictional Performance Against Torture,” was organized by the Institute of the Federal Judiciary and was held in the auditorium of the Revolución building in Mexico City. In addition to talking about his extensive experience fighting to eradicate torture, Juan Méndez argued that although some success has been observed in recent years, there is still a long way to go to bring about the reform of the Mexican criminal justice system.
In particular, the former UN Rapporteur pointed out that, were it to become a reality in practice, the change from an inquisitorial to an accusatory system would be positive. However, he warned that if the transition is not accompanied by a change in the mentality of judges and prosecutors, the accusatory system could be worse than the inquisitive one. He also mentioned that although the Istanbul Protocol has become an essential element in the global fight to eradicate torture, there is still a high level of impunity in our country. Similarly, while he commended the authorities for the adoption of the National Law on Sentence Enforcement in 2016, he also indicated that pre-charge detention is still a violation of human rights that should be eliminated.
Representing En Vero were Enriqueta Cruz Gómez, Brenda Quevedo Cruz’s mother and spokesperson for the organization; Margarita Solórzano, Pablo Solórzano Castro’s mother; and Guadalupe Vallarta, Israel Vallarta Cisneros’ sister.
For her part, Enriqueta Cruz Gómez commented that she considers admirable the work done by the former Rapporteur Méndez to improve conditions in prisons and to eradicate widespread torture that is observed in the country. Both to her and to Margarita Solórzano, it gave them hope knowing that there are highly qualified and experienced people fighting so that the rights of members of their families, and of prisoners in similar circumstances, are respected.
Langner, Ana. “Sistema penal require un cambio cultural” (Criminal justice system requires a cultural shift). El Economista. March 14, 2017. http://eleconomista.com.mx/sociedad/2017/03/14/sistema-penal-requiere-cambio-cultural