24 Feb Mexico Genocide Indictment Barred by Statute of Limitations
Mexico’s highest court ruled yesterday that a 30 year statute of limitations nullified the indictment of one of its former presidents on charges of genocide. This appears to be another case (like the recent Bolivia indictment) raising the question of whether genocide can apply to a government’s attack on a group of protesters (this time 45 deaths occurred and its not obvious whether an ethnic group was involved) but I’m also struck by another interesting legal aspect of the case.
Apparently, Mexico’s prosecutors claimed that the ratification of the Genocide Convention in 2002 required Mexican courts to lift any statute of limitations on charges of genocide. But the Mexico court held that the “interpretation” attached by Mexico upon acceding to the convention allows Mexico to continue to apply the statute of limitations to genocide charges. This is a controversial practice in the U.S. as well because the U.S. has attached similar declarations (though not with respect to statute of limitations) to all of the major human rights treaties it has ratified (for a defense of this U.S. practice, see here). It is interesting that Mexican courts, like U.S. courts, have sided with the domestic lawmakers (the Mexican government) over the international ones on this tricky question.