03/19/13 – Mexico’s Congress is analyzing a proposal to eliminate the use of fuero for elected officials and public servants, with exemption of the president. Under Mexican Law, fuero constitutes a privilege by which a public official cannot be subject to a judicial procedure or be held responsible for a crime committed. If the reform passes, almost all public officials could be investigated and prosecuted, and if found guilty, they would have to face their punishment as regular citizens.
The proposed reform passed through the Chamber of Deputies, but was then rejected by the Senate because of a procedural mistake, which sent the proposal back to the Chamber of Deputies for review again. There are allegations suggesting there were deliberate omissions in the document the Revolutionary Institutional Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) sent to the Senate, specifically with regard to fuero when it involves the president. Nevertheless, Francisco Arroyo Vieyra (PRI), the president of the Board of the Chamber of Deputies, said that he will remove the modifications he added, so there are no more misinterpretations.
Similar proposals are being discussed at the state level, where some states, such as Veracruz, are seeking to reform fuero for elected state officials, including state legislators, governors, and mayors. In Morelos, where the reform was already approved to amend the State Constitution and eliminate fuero at the state level, mayors are now challenging the reform before the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN).
Mexico is plagued with high levels of corruption throughout its government, and such a reform would work to target the impunity under which elected officials have long operated. If passed, the reform could lead to greater accountability of public officials.
“Senado recibe reforma para acotar fuero.” Diario Crítico de México. March 12, 2013.
“El Senado devuelve la reforma al fuero por un ‘error’ de los diputados.” CNN México. March 14, 2013.
García, Lev. “Busca Veracruz quitar fuero a Gobernador.” Reforma. March 19, 2013.
Méndez, Enrique and Garduño, Roberto. “Retirarán cuatro modificaciones a ley de fuero constitucional.” La Jornada. March 19, 2013.
Tonantzin, Pedro. “Eliminan fuero en Morelos y los alcaldes se amparan.” Excélsior. March 19, 2013.