Crime and Violence · Human Rights and Civil Society · Justice in Mexico

Concerns about progress in implementing justice system reforms

José Oscar Vega Marín. Photo: Azteca Noticias

11/26/12- Outgoing President Felipe Calderón urged federal legislators to approve reforms to prisons, sentencing, and the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure (Código Federal de Procedimientos Penales, CFPP). Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) rapidly passed bills on prisons and sentencing reform in April of 2011, but the measures have been held up in the Senate since then. The new CFPP is necessary to implement the accusatorial criminal system, introduced to Mexican legal frame by a constitutional reform in 2008, and that according to same reform has to be fully implemented throughout Mexico by 2016, both at the state and federal levels.

According to the document sent to the Senate by Calderón, only twelve of Mexico’s thirty two states posses a functioning Code of Criminal Procedure that establishes the new accusatorial system, ten states have it approved while seven states’ initiatives are in state congresses and three have no initiative.  The enforcement of sanctions is further ahead with 27 states in the process of implementation, two have it approved and three have initiatives in the legislature. To support the process, the 2012 fiscal budget allocated 443.4 million peso (about 34 million dollars) to aid states with implementation.  Only three states have the new Criminal Justice system in full operation, State of Mexico, Morelos and Chihuahua while eight other states, Baja California, Durango, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Zacatecas y Chiapas are in partial operation and the rest are still in the planning phases.

On the other hand, Executive Secretary of the National Public Security System ( Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública, SNSP), José Oscar Vega Marín, gave a press conference earlier this month on the advances of security. As part of the reform, evaluations are to be conducted on police officers to ensure that they are qualified for their tasks. To improve control and confidence, 37 centers for evaluations have been created of which two are federal and 35 in states. Of the more than 501, 700 police, 66% have been evaluated and of those solely 15% did not pass the evaluation.  The states with the least depuration are Quintana Roo with 5%, Chihuahua 21%, Jalisco with 23% and Tamaulipas with 24%.  All exams of confidence, certifications and depurations have to be completed by January 2013, however Vega Martín recognized that the goal foreseen 4 years ago of 100% of police certified by the January 2013 deadline is not likely to be reached. Nevertheless, President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will take the power of the country with 85% of police certification.



Torres, Ricardo. “Colima y DF aun no implementan juicios orales.” Azteca Noticias. November 6, 2012. 

Guerrero, Claudia.  Apura Calderón reforma judicial.” Tribuna. November 20, 2012. 

Robles de la Rosa, Leticia. “Incumplen con la depuración policial a nivel nacional.” Excelsior. November 22, 2012.

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