Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yesterday's Big Passage

The Mexican Senate passed the National Security Law that had been kicked loosely around for more than a year, and then intensely for the past couple of weeks. Here are the particulars:
The law establishes the steps by which the president authorizes troops to work against crime, but prohibits the suspension of guarantees, the state of emergency, or the use of the army to suffocate social movements or electoral conflicts.

Under the new scheme, governors or state congresses will have to solicit the federal government to deploy troops to combat crime.

The solicitations will be revised by the National Security Council and by the Senate before the president can authorizes the sending of soldiers via a "decree of domestic security impact".

Although the senators have left until later the military fuero reform, the law establishes that soldiers and marines can be judged in civilian courts for crimes that affect the civilian population, according to international treaties to which Mexico is a party.
I think it shows a good deal of foresight to include the prohibition of the army being used to deal with social or electoral conflicts, and overall, this is a positive step, although one worries that it doesn't include a long-term plan for the army not being involved at all in domestic security, which should be the ultimate goal. In any event, the law now goes over to the Chamber of Deputies for consideration.

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