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Mexico news Sept. 14

Posted by The Generals on September 16, 2012, 1:12 pm

Subject: Mexico News DAILY Friday, September 14, 2012


Mexico's immunity request raises political suspicion

Development: On 13 September Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa defended the Mexican government’s petition for the US to grant diplomatic immunity to former president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León (1994-2000) claiming that it was “a matter of principle”.
Significance: Zedillo is facing a civil lawsuit in a federal court in Connecticut for his presumed responsibility of a massacre in Chiapas that took place during his term in office. The Mexican government led by President Felipe Calderón submitted a formal request asking the US government to intervene by granting Zedillo immunity, which the US government has recommended. The Calderón government’s decision to shield a former president hailing from the rival Partido Revolucionario Institucional, has sparked speculation that it was politically motivated. Indeed Espinosa’s comments come after a prominent member of the ruling Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) alleged that the decision answered more to Calderón’s personal interests than Mexico’s. Calderón is interested in organising a smooth transition of power to his elected successor Enrique Peña Nieto from the PRI; both men want the parties to establish a working relationship.
Key points:
• Speaking before the senate, Espinosa said that the decision to submit a request to the US government back in November 2011 was based purely on “international law and the concept of the equality of sovereign nations”.She added that the government decided to intervene as “a matter of principle” in order to defend the country’s sovereignty. She explained that Zedillo faced a civil not criminal suit for events that took place while he was president but outside of Mexico’s jurisdiction without the possibility of the Mexican government taking part in the process.
• Mexico’s foreign ministry legal adviser, Arturo Dager, notes that the government’s petition does not mean that Mexico does not recognise the concept of universal jurisdiction for human rights violations. He points out that Zedillo is not accused of such violations but only of possible responsibilities that may have derived from the fact that he was head of state. “The Mexican government has only appealed to the sovereign immunity of heads of state that is widely recognised by the International Court of Justice”, Dager said. He also pointed out that this immunity “accompanies heads of state even after their mandates have expired”. In Dager’s opinion, now that the US government has issued a recommendation, the Connecticut court will most likely close the case.
• Yet former foreign minister, Jorge Castañeda (2000-2003), maintains that the decision to shield Zedillo seemed to be “in the interest of Felipe Calderón" and “superseded the interests of the State and international law”. Castañeda served under former president Vicente Fox (2000-2006), also from the PAN but very critical of his successor. Castañeda may have been alluding to the notion that Calderón may stand to face similar accusations for the deaths caused by his war on organised crime.

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