The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Mexican genocide fiasco

Or thus it appears at first glance (caveat maxime lector!).

The Cliff Notes version seems to go something like this: around 1970, political violence in Mexico was very much the thing - hundreds of students killed on October 2 1968 in Mexico City - and the killing of 30 or so demonstrators on June 10 1971 was not exceptional. Luis Echeverría (of the PRI, natch) was Interior Minister during the 1968 incident and President during the 1971.

The Vicente Fox adminstration [1] decided (for reasons research would no doubt dig up) to prosecute Echeverría and others for their part in the 1971 incident [2] on the charge of genocide.

The Washington Post's Kevin Sullivan [4] was reporting yesterday in what looks to me very much like a spirit of liberal-onanist hope [3] that Black Hats from the Nixon-Kissinger era of Latin American infamy were to get their just deserts.

A day later, this Ealing Comedy moment had been abruptly terminated by a douche of judicial common sense (Sullivan again). Having examined the case on the papers, Judge César Flores Rodríguez kicked it.

According to a La Jornada piece [5],
El juzgado no analizó si el delito de genocidio tiene prescripción. Se concentró en revisar si en los hechos del 10 de 1971 se dio ese ilícito.

Llegaron a la siguiente conclusión: no podía acreditarse el ilícito conforme a lo establecido en el artículo 149 bis del Código Penal Federal, debido a que supuestamente la Femospp no logró acreditar que los hechos ocurridos el 10 de junio tuvieran como propósito destruir total o parcialmente a uno o más grupos nacionales o de carácter étnico, racial o religioso.

Sullivan says
In his decision, Flores apparently did not discuss the merits of the genocide charge.
which isn't quite the same thing: according to the Jornada piece, the judge didn't decide that facts alleged were proved; but that, assuming they were proved, they wouldn't provide the necessary elements of the genocide charge.

The judge did, according to Jornada, find that other charges might lie on the facts alleged; but these were all barred by the statute of limitations.

I assume that the reason why the facially unlikely (if not absurd) genocide charge was chosen was to escape statute of limitations problems [6].

The Femospp will no doubt appeal against the judge's decision.

  1. Fox is a member of the PAN - long-time opponents of the PRI - but his administration is, from memory, somewhat broadly based.

  2. I learn from Josh Marshall.

  3. Must be an illusion, since Post news pieces are by definition objective...

  4. Not the Anne of Green Gables Kevin Sullivan, I suppose...

  5. Femospp is the Fiscalía Especializada para Movimientos Sociales y Políticos del Pasado. Some kind of special prosecutor for raking up the misdeeds of authoritarians past, evidently.

    The URL is dynamic: tomorrow, you'll have to Google the first ten words of the quote to get the permanent URL.

  6. Another discrepancy between the two versions is Sullivan's reference to statute of limitations on the genocide charge: he says the prosecutor
    Carrillo Prieto argued that the statute of limitations had not expired.
    But, if the facts alleged don't amount to genocide, the question of statute of limitations is moot.

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