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Supporting Criminal Justice System Reform in Mexico: The U.S. Role

CRS – Supporting Criminal Justice System Reform in Mexico: The U.S. Role, Clare Ribando Seelke, Specialist in Latin American Affairs. March 18, 2013

  • “Fostering security, stability, and democracy in neighboring Mexico is seen by analysts to be in the U.S. national security and economic interest. Reforming Mexico’s often corrupt and inefficient criminal justice system is widely regarded as crucial for combating criminality, strengthening the rule of law, and better protecting citizen security and human rights in the country. Congress has provided significant support to help Mexico reform its justice system in order to make current anticrime efforts more effective and to strengthen the system over the long term. U.S. and Mexican officials assert that fully implementing judicial reforms enacted through constitutional changes in June 2008 is a key goal. Under the reforms, Mexico has until 2016 to replace its trial procedures at the federal and state level, moving from a closed-door process based on written arguments presented to a judge to an adversarial public trial system with oral arguments and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. These changes are expected to help make the system less prone to corruption and more transparent and impartial. In addition to oral trials, judicial systems are expected to adopt means of alternative dispute resolution, which should help them be more flexible and efficient, thereby ensuring that cases that go to trial involve serious crimes.”
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