MEXICO CITY – The head of the Mexican judiciary on Wednesday expressed his commitment to eliminate corruption in the courts in the face of the onslaught by organized crime, and he said that 42 judges had been sanctioned for various irregularities in the past 3½ years.
At the Dialogue for Security forum conceived by the administration of Felipe Calderon, Supreme Court Chief Justice Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia said that judges “are and will be up to” the challenges posed by the drug-related violence that has claimed 28,000 lives nationwide since December 2006.
The fight against organized crime has been and will continue to be (conducted) with the law in hand, said the magistrate, who offered certain details about the anti-corruption actions that had been carried out.
From 2007 to date in the Council of the Federal Judiciary we’ve punished for administrative failings on different levels 42 district judges and circuit magistrates, including (imposing) suspensions ... and ... summary dismissals, he said.
He acknowledged that the fight against lack of security is a great concern of the citizenry which the judges share, and he said that they will work with the law and the defense of legality to ensure that the law is adhered to.
At the same venue, President Calderon said that one of the greatest challenges for Mexican judges is to avoid ... becoming prisoner to threats, to intimidation or to co-option by criminals.
In addition, he called on judges and judicial officials to work zealously to prevent impunity from prevailing for crimes.
For that task, he added, it will be necessary not only to guarantee the independence, autonomy and impartiality of the courts, but also to review, update and redesign, if necessary, our legal framework.
In Mexico, trials have been founded up to now on a written investigation of the case and judges often never see the accused face to face, something that is being corrected with a gradual shift to public trials.
This is one of the pillars of a reform that is being implemented to replace the “inquisitorial” justice system – where the accused must prove his innocence in the face of evidence and testimony that serves to incriminate him – with one grounded on the presumption of innocence.