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Justice in crisis

We must not return to the times when human rights were violated to get convictions
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
26/10/2017
09:11
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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In Mexico, Law is enforced in a disorganized manner, with fragmented views and isolated decisions. Crime investigation is virtually non-existent but when done, it violates human rights. The process to gather information is deficient and the information collected is of little use.

Those are the main conclusions of the National Survey on the Law Enforcement Model made public yesterday by the The Institute for Research and of Teaching of Economics (CIDE), the National Institute of Criminal Sciences, the Judicial Research Institute of the National Autonomous University (UNAM), and the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT)

The results are as expected. As in many other areas in Mexico, law enforcement is failing in its main purpose, and it is considered slow, biased, and expensive for most inhabitants.

Contrary to the above, since 2008 –  because this is not a recent issue – an ambitious amendment was drafted which meant the readjustment and modification of the legal systems throughout the country. Finally, as it was expected, it entered into full force and effect in 2016, yet one year after its implementation there were those who began to criticize and discredit the outline and suggested going back to the former system instead of making the necessary adjustments to the new model.

We shouldn't return to the times where people were imprisoned for obscure reasons, without clearly stating which law had been violated, to those times when it wasn't strange to see beaten suspects confessing their “crimes” or admitting their “guilt.” The current justice system is based on scientific practices and on the principle of presumption of innocence, which represents, no less, a shift in the way the judicial players should perform their activities. The route has been laid before us, but it will take time and the full commitment of the authorities.

The report, obtained after meetings and debates with experts, universities, courts, attorney offices, prosecutor offices, human rights commissions, and civil society organizations, confirms the 2008 reform was an adequate amendment and beyond pointing out the flaws, it also provides several actions and measures which should be implemented to modify our current panorama.

Despite the importance of this survey, during yesterday's ceremony, there was no representation from the Congress of the Union. A sign of how much they're interested in law enforcement?

At a time when the country has three key bodies without a head – the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Anticorruption Prosecutor, and the Attorney's Office against Electoral Crimes – the following question becomes more relevant: do legislators even care about law enforcement?

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