The Mexican General Law on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearances Committed by Individuals and the National Missing Persons System: How Many Steps Forward?

Salvador Leyva Morelos Zaragoza

Abstract

In 2017, more than 40 years after some of the first documented cases of forced disappearance in Mexico, the General Law on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearances Committed by Individuals and the National Missing Persons System was published. The approval and enactment of the General Law constitutes a step toward ensuring the free and full enjoyment of human rights of victims of forced disappearance and their next of kin, in accordance with the international human rights standards concerning forced disappearances established by international human rights treaties, the Inter- American Court of Human Rights case law, the recommendations issued by the United Nations Committee and Working Group on Forced or Involuntary Disappearances, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The General Law introduces and modifies institutions, procedures and guidelines that contribute to ensuring the rights to justice, truth and reparation. However, the General Law does not fully comply with international human rights standards regarding military jurisdiction and criminal responsibility within the chain of command. Also, the proper and effective implementation of the General Law requires strong political will and sufficient material and human resources from the three levels of government. Otherwise, the General Law will simply be regarded as a piece of paper.

Keywords

Forced disappearances; International Human Rights Law; Mexico; legislation

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