Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mexico's Supreme Court: Military Personnel Accused of Human Rights Abuse Will Be Tried in Military Courts: Margarita Rosales Comments in Juarez

In a six to five decision the Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled against a woman who sought to prevent military personnel accused of killing her husband from being tried in military courts. She was hoping the Court would permit civilian courts to try them. Her husband and three other men were killed on March 26, in Badiaguato, Sinaloa, by soldiers in an incident at a military roadblock.

The substantive issue was whether article 13 of the Constitution limits the protection military personnel enjoy to be tried by their own institution only in cases in which military discipline has been violated, or whether it includes protection in cases where offenses against the civilian population are involved.

The court did not rule on the substantive issue itself, but ruled instead that the woman, Reynalda Morales, did not have the legal standing to seek this particular constitutional protection under Mexican law.

This case is not irrelevant for Cd. Juárez, where over 7000 troops have been assigned functions which place them in contact with the civilian population, and where there have been multiple allegations of human rights abuse by military personnel.

I reported here, for example (April 11, 14, and July 16) the case of Javier Eduardo Rosales Rosales, 21, who was kidnapped by soldiers on April 7 of this year, along with a U.S. citizen, Sergio Fernandez. Rosales' dead body was found a few days later by his family, and the state forensic service declared he had been severely beaten. His mother (see my post on July 16) expressed gratitude his case was being pursued instead of forgotten.

in a story written by Martha Elba Figueroa, for Diario this morning, Margarita Rosales, Javier's mother, is quoted as saying, "it's not fair. I thought my son's case was moving forward, but now with this news I don't think anything will be done because they will protect their own."

María del Refugio Ramírez, the mother of Eduardo González Ramírez, who was kidnapped by soldiers and later found dead, said the Supreme Court's decision did not surprise her. "I have resigned myself that everything will stay the same," she said. The military presence "isn't helping anything. All you see is more and more dead and they don't catch the guilty ones. Nothing has improved with their presence."

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