Why can't the death penalty be applied in Mexico?

24/02/2020

The circumstances in which the femicides of Ingrid Escamilla and the girl Fatima were committed in Mexico City led some senators to analyze the pros and cons of the application of the death penalty in the country.

In Mexico, why can't the death penalty be applied?
In Mexico, why can't the death penalty be applied?

Victor Fuentes Solis, from the National Action Party (PAN), proposed on Thursday to open a debate on whether this penalty should be imposed for the femicides of girls, adolescents, and women. He added that this dialogue could include experts where this sentence is applied to prisoners, as is the case of the United States and Japan.

Ricardo Monreal, the coordinator of Morena's senators, expressed his opposition to this measure, calling the death penalty an "outrage".

"One cannot, due to the circumstances and the crisis in which the country has lived in recent years, establish this type of barbaric punishment," he said.

The senator noted that this type of sentence is prohibited by the Constitution, but was it always like this?

Death penalty in Mexico

The Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) points out that the measure was already practiced in pre-Hispanic times. The Aztecs, for example, applied it by dismemberment, decapitation, stoning, garrotting or hanging.

As early as 1835, independent Mexico had drafted the country's first criminal code that provided for the death penalty. The accused was taken publicly to the scaffold and was passed "by weapon or club".

The reform made to the Penal Code in 1869 abolished the measure. However, it was reinstated two years later.

The sentence was abolished at the federal level in 1929, according to an analysis by the Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion of the Chamber of Deputies.

So, can't it be restored again?

No, this is because of Mexico's signature on the American Convention on Human Rights, known as the 'Pact of San José'.

Signed by the country in 1969 (but approved by the Senate until 1980), the pact establishes restrictions on the death penalty in the nations that signed it.

In its fourth article, which deals with the right to life, it states that "the death penalty shall not be re-established in States which have abolished it".

Therefore, if the legislative branch were to approve the return of the measure, it would put the country in a situation of violation of international treaties signed by Mexico in the area of human rights.

Has there been an attempt to promote the reinstatement of the death penalty?

Yes, according to the Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion of the Lower House.

Three initiatives were presented in the LX Legislature, which ran from 2006 to 2009, and an additional one in the next Legislature (from 2009 to 2012). All were rejected.

In June 2018, within the LXIII Legislature, the Green Party 'revived' its 2009 proposal and proposed the death penalty to punish those who commit the crime of intentional homicide linked to others such as kidnapping, rape, human trafficking, and organized crime.

That same month, Jesus Gilberto Rodriguez Garza, deputy for the 8th district of Nuevo Leon, reported that he would present as an initiative the proposal of former presidential candidate and current governor of New Leon, Jaime Rodriguez Calderon 'El Bronco', to "knock off the hands" of thieves.

The proposal also included the death penalty for drug traffickers, femicides, kidnappers, and rapists.

By Mexicanist, with information from Notimex