100% of the sentences of judges in Mexico will be public
The court rulings by which judges in Mexico end a case will be made public in full within 6 months at the latest, in a country where until now 96.9% of these rulings remained a secret.
The Official Journal of the Federation (DOF) published this Thursday the decree by which Article 73 of the General Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information was reformed.
With the reform approved last June by Congress, the judicial branches of Mexico's 32 entities must disclose public versions of all rulings issued.
"We are reducing the margins of opacity (...) citizens will be able to know the reasons and arguments that are in the sentences," said Senator Clemente Castañeda Hoeflich of Movimiento Ciudadano, quoted in a statement.
Castañeda Hoeflich presented the law reform together with the civil organization Equis: Justice for Women and the collective #lojustoesquesepas, integrated by Mexico evaluates, Political Edge, Article 19, Mexicans against corruption and impunity, Control your government and Found center for analysis and research.
Before the reform, the law established that only sentences of "public interest" should be made public, leaving the arguments and reasons for the authorities' decisions hidden.
Almost all of these sentences remained in the opacity, since 96.9% of the judicial powers of Mexico considered that they were not of public interest, according to the ranking of the opacity of the Judicial Power prepared by the feminist organization Equis.
Sentences are the way in which the judicial authority pronounces its resolutions on a case and definitively ends the process.
Equis found that all the judicial powers in Mexico are failing in open justice, that is, in the publication of sentences, citizen participation, and budgeting for transparency units.
None of the 32 branches of government achieved the 50% compliance score.
Yucatan was the best evaluated judicial power with only 47.5 points, and the most opaque were Aguascalientes, Morelos, Puebla, and Estado de Mexico. Mexico City was ranked 12th with 27.5 points.
There is no homogeneous criterion among the judicial powers of the country to define what the "public interest" is.
The fact that sentences are not made public in their entirety is a barrier for citizens, said Equis.
This opacity represents a more serious problem for women because many of the decisions discriminate against them and do not favor their inclusion.
"She is responsible for the acts committed by her partner," is an example of the phrases found in the sentences that have been published.
This is an example of a discriminatory sentence without gender and human rights perspective, which limits the detection of possible arbitrariness, according to the organization Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity, which promoted this reform to the law.
Having access to all sentences would allow citizens to monitor the decisions of judges and evaluate their work, in order to identify certain patterns of evidence of corruption, she added.
Mexico's judiciary will have 180 days (six months) from the publication of this decree in the DOF to make the sentences public.