Promoting the rule of law

Project description

Title: Promoting the rule of law in Mexico
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: Mexico
Lead executing agency: Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico (Procuraduría General de la República – PGR)
Overall term: 2015 to 2019

Stärkung des Rechtsstaats © GIZ

Context

Since 2006, more than 60,000 people have lost their lives in the fight against organised crime in Mexico. The number of cases of presumably enforced disappearance has risen considerably in recent years. At present, more than 28,000 people are officially registered as missing. Comprehensive criminal investigations are rare. Improvements in criminal investigation, finding and identifying human remains and dealing with victims in an appropriate, respectful manner are some of the challenges of the rule of law.

Objective

The Office of the Attorney General works increasingly effectively and in line with international standards in cases of enforced disappearance.

Approach

By implementing the project on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, GIZ is helping to fight impunity in connection with the enforced disappearance of persons. The project is supporting Mexico's Office of the Attorney General with a view to solving these crimes more effectively in future. The aim is for the Office of the Attorney General to build its capacity for criminal investigation and identification and to improve the way it deals with victims and their families. This is ultimately designed to increase society's trust in the rule of law in Mexico.

The project advises the Office of the Attorney General on criminal law, criminal procedure law and forensic science to ensure that crime scene and criminal investigation work is effective. Staff receive training on interrogation techniques and crime scene work. Improved procedures within the Office of the Attorney General are to help step up the search for the disappeared. Finally, the project supports the Office in refining instruments to use information and databases on disappeared persons.

Forensic investigations in accordance with national and international standards are crucial for more effective criminal investigation work. The project thus offers technical advice on forensic medicine and DNA identification. Among other things, it promotes better coordination of the services of individual laboratories to enable them to provide DNA analyses and the results of examinations to identify human remains promptly.

The disappearance of a person has far-reaching psychological and social impacts on the families concerned. The families are often the driving force behind the search for their relatives. The Office of the Attorney General is often not sufficiently prepared for dealing with and questioning victims. The project is promoting the dialogue between the Office and victims' representatives to enable the families to assert their rights of participation and information. It also offers courses for public prosecution service staff and police officers and provides training on dealing with victims' families appropriately. Moreover, the project cooperates directly with victims' representatives and associations. It supports the Mexican Commission of Victims (CEAV) with the indemnification of the victims in a quick and non-bureaucratic manner. The skills of the functionaries are educated in the understanding, involvement and protection of the victims in order to accomplish an integral compensation of the affected families. 

Results

The forensic work of the Office of the Attorney General has been strengthened in several training sessions. Various areas of the authority have received training in psychosocial support, hence raising their awareness about the needs of the victims of enforced disappearance. At the same time, a broad dialogue with victims' representatives and human rights organisations has been initiated. Cooperation agreements have been entered into with various non-governmental organisations that work to strengthen victims' rights.