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Mexico; United States: Training Program for Mexican Prosecutors

(Mar. 1, 2012) On February 7, 2012, Mexico's Attorney General started a program designed by the justice departments of Mexico and the United States aimed at providing training on criminal oral trials to Mexican federal prosecutors. The Mexican Attorney General indicated that the U.S. Department of Justice has extensive experience in this area, and therefore its contribution to the training will be very useful for Mexican prosecutors. (Press Release No. 072/12, PGR pone en marcha el “Proyecto Diamante” para capacitar a Ministerios Públicos,Peritos y Policía Federal Ministerial, Mexico's Department of Justice website (Feb. 7, 2012); Press Release No. 071/12a, Palabras de la Procuradora General de la República Marisela Morales Ibáñez, Mexico's Department of Justice website (Feb. 7, 2012).)

The Mexican Attorney General added that this type of training will be instrumental in Mexico's successfully achieving the transition from its current model of inquisitorial criminal trials to a new system in which these trials will be conducted under oral and accusatory principles. The new system was established by a constitutional amendment enacted in Mexico in 2008. (Press Release No. 072/12 & Press Release No. 071/12a, supra.)

Article 20 of the Mexican Constitution, as amended in 2008, provides that by 2016 at the latest, criminal trials should be oral and accusatory. (Decreto por el que se reforman y adicionan diversas disposiciones de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, arts. 20 & segundo transitorio, DIARIO OFICIAL (June 18, 2008), Mexico's House of Representatives website.)

Once fully implemented, this amendment will radically change the way in which criminal trials are conducted in Mexico. Currently, criminal trials take place under a predominantly inquisitorial system, where the prosecutor's role is generally stronger than that of the defendant and his or her attorney. (REFORMA CONSTITUCIONAL DE SEGURIDAD Y JUSTICIA: GUÍA DE CONSULTA, ¿EN QUÉ CONSISTE LA REFORMA? TEXTO CONSTITUCIONAL COMPARADO, ANTES Y DESPUÉS DE LA REFORMA, Mexico's Department of Interior website (last visited Feb. 27, 2012).)

Some Mexican states have already started to implement the new form of oral trials, which provide equal roles for the defense and the prosecution. (Mapa de avances del proceso de implementacion de la reforma penal 2011, Mexico's Department of Interior website (last visited Feb. 27, 2012).)