WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
20 Jul 2016 | Publication

WOLA Report: Mexico’s New Criminal Justice System

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Washington, DC­–The Mexican government has called its transition to the new adversarial, oral-based criminal justice system a “mission accomplished.” However, according to a new WOLA report, much remains to be done for Mexico to enjoy a system that holds perpetrators accountable for crimes while ensuring respect for human rights.

“The Mexican government has consistently failed to prove that justice and police reforms portrayed as signs of progress are meeting their goals,” said Ximena Suarez, WOLA’s Associate for Mexico. “Unless the government authentically commits to make the new criminal justice system a reality for everyone in Mexico, the risk of repeating the same failure is high.”

WOLA’s new report Mission Unaccomplished: Mexico’s New Criminal Justice System is Still a Work in Progress assesses the challenges that remain to making the system fully operational in the country, including the need to change entrenched practices, pass new laws, and train personnel. For a quick overview of what the reforms are and what remains to be done, see WOLA’s Q&A.

The United States has supported judicial reform in Mexico for more than a decade, and this assistance has increased under the Merida Initiative, a multi-year U.S. assistance package to Mexico. The U.S. government is currently implementing an US$81 million dollar program aimed at strengthening rule of law in Mexico.

English justice infographic

“At a time when the State Department is assessing the Mexican government’s efforts to improve respect for human rights in the country, progress on reforming the criminal justice system becomes increasingly relevant for bilateral relations,” said Maureen Meyer, WOLA’s Senior Associate for Mexico. “The unresolved case of the enforced disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa and other cases show that Mexico is facing a serious human rights crisis. Any credible investigation into these and other abuses requires a fully functional criminal justice system, and such a system is not yet a reality in Mexico.”

Click here to read WOLA’s new report Mission Unaccomplished.

Click here for WOLA’s Q&A on the justice system reforms.


Kristel Mucino
WOLA Director of Communications
+1 (202) 797-2171
[email protected]