Ruling marks significant shift in Mexico’s approach to combating drug cartels, organized crime
Mexico’s Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling that will limit the role of the army in public security operations. The ruling marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to combating drug cartels and organized crime, which have long relied on the military for support.
The court’s decision, announced on Monday, stipulates that the army can no longer carry out law enforcement duties or use force against civilians, except in cases where they are directly threatened. This means that soldiers cannot make arrests, conduct searches or seizures, or carry out surveillance operations without the involvement of civilian authorities.
The ruling was in response to a legal challenge by a group of activists and human rights organizations who argued that the military’s involvement in public security operations had led to a significant increase in human rights violations, including torture, disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
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Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has long been a critic of the country’s reliance on the military in public security operations, and he welcomed the court’s decision, calling it a “historic” ruling. The president has been pushing for a more civilian-led approach to combating organized crime, and the ruling is seen as a significant step in that direction.
However, the ruling has also raised concerns about the ability of civilian authorities to effectively combat organized crime, given their limited resources and the prevalence of corruption within the country’s law enforcement agencies. Critics have argued that the ruling could leave a security vacuum, which could be exploited by criminal groups.
Mexico’s Supreme Court’s ruling also comes at a time of heightened tension between Mexico and the U.S. over the issue of immigration, with the Biden administration calling on Mexico to do more to stem the flow of migrants across its southern border. The ruling could further strain relations between the two countries, as it may limit the ability of the Mexican government to cooperate with the U.S. on security matters.
Despite these concerns, the ruling has been widely hailed as a positive step towards strengthening the rule of law in Mexico and addressing the long-standing issue of human rights abuses by the military. It remains to be seen how the ruling will be implemented in practice and what its long-term impact will be on public security in Mexico.