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International News: In Mexico, legal protection reforms become law

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2024. 4:16 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Mexico implemented 2 controversial laws on Friday that significantly enhance the president’s authority to grant amnesty and restrict judges’ ability to suspend public projects.

These legislative changes, ratified earlier this year by Congress and effective starting Saturday, empower the president to directly issue amnesty in cases involving ongoing criminal proceedings or completed prosecutions and sentences, bypassing standard procedural channels.

According to Reuters, the amnesty recipients are required to provide pertinent information related to state matters, as stipulated in the decree.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is nearing the end of his term, contends that the amnesty law could aid in resolving investigations like the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, which human rights organizations allege suffered from incomplete data, false testimonies, and potential complicity by the military. Critics argue that the legislation could deny victims their right to reparations.

Additionally, the amendments curtail judges’ authority to temporarily suspend laws and federal projects under the “amparo” legal process, designed to prevent governmental overreach.

This legal tool has been used by judges to attempt halting initiatives such as the Mayan Train project in southern Mexico and reforms aimed at bolstering state oversight of the energy sector.

Proponents assert that the amendments safeguard against political misuse of legal measures, whereas opponents argue they diminish judicial independence.

These reforms, approved in April and now enacted, coincide with preparations by President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum to launch public dialogues on a proposed judicial overhaul endorsed by the current administration.

 

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