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Mexico: National Code of Penal Procedure Approved

(Feb. 11, 2014) The Chamber of Deputies of the Federal Congress of Mexico approved a new National Code of Penal Procedure on February 5, 2014, after three hours of debate by seven parliamentary groups. There were 407 votes in favor of the new law, 28 against, and five abstentions. With this new Code there is going to be procedural uniformity across the country. At present each state has its own Code of Criminal Procedure. (Diputados Avalan en lo General Código Nacional de Procedimientos Penales, CRÓNICA (Feb. 5, 2014).)

The Code establishes a uniform oral, adversarial criminal trial process and provides rules for the various stages of investigation, prosecution, and punishment of crimes. The Code will apply nationwide to the procedures for adjudicating federal as well as common crimes. (Id.)

The Code, which had been previously approved by the Senate, must be published in Mexico’s federal official gazette, the Diario Oficial de la Federación, in order to take effect. It will come into force at the federal level gradually, under the terms established by the Federal Congress after consultation with the Federal Judicial Branch, the Secretariat of the Interior, and the Attorney-General of the Republic, but the date of full entry into force may not be later than June 18, 2016. (Proyecto de Decreto por el que se Expide el Código Nacional de Procedimientos Penales [Draft Decree Issuing the National Code of Criminal Procedure] [containing the full text of the Code], Second Transitional Article of the Code, in Minutas: Con proyecto de decreto, que expide el Código Nacional de Procedimientos Penales, GACETA PARLAMENTARIA [PARLIAMENTARY GAZETTE], No. 3924-II (Dec. 10, 2013).)

The Code will come into force in each of the states and the Federal District under the terms determined by the legislature of the area, in consultation with the appropriate authority responsible for implementing the adversary system of criminal justice. (Id.)