- The president promised to be an ally in order to have a model that ensures the protection and defense of victims: there must be equity for there to be justice, he said.
- He inaugurated the International Forum: Equity for Victims in Due Process.
During the inauguration of the International Forum: Equity for Victims in Due Process, organized by the Stop Kidnapping Association, President Enrique Peña Nieto, said: “In order for there really to be justice, there must be equity in trials; in order for there to be justice, both victim and victimizer must be on a level playing field and have the same resources”.
This is what we should see,” he said, after receiving a proposal for the General Law of Crime Victims from president of the association Isabel Miranda de Wallace, which, said the president, “Congress will review and expand in order to have a better system for providing care for victims”.
He noted that in response to the demands of crime victims, the Mexican state has created a legal system designed to place them at the center. Our country, he said, was among the first to have a general model of care for victims that had not been seen elsewhere. “We become a benchmark for the world in the creation of this model”.
He stressed, however, that in the more than three years since the General Victims Act was enacted, it has proved to have flaws and inconsistencies which, in some cases, have prevented it from being fully operable. "Today we must improve it, we must ensure it works properly, avoid bureaucratization, and facilitate victims’ access to compensation,” he explained.
Furthermore, “We must ensure that victims have proper legal assistance from victim lawyers,” of which, he said, “there are an insufficient number at all levels of government, meaning that the accused are sometimes better equipped than the victims”.
He said that resources from the fund for the care for victims, “Most of the time, or some of the time, rather than supporting or repairing the damage caused to victims, have been basically used to indicate due process flaws or for some other purpose. Resources have been virtually assigned to offenders, and those found guilty in a trial. We must correct this”.
He said that while it should be acknowledged that there has been progress, since the current model allows federal legal counsel to assist and advise the victim, “It must also be said: It is not sufficient, either at the federal level, far less at the state level”.
He emphasized that it is not enough to have good systems, “What really makes the change is the effective implementation of these regulations”. He added that, “It is not the law itself that transforms reality, but its effective implementation”.
He said that given the challenges facing society and the Mexican State in the 21st century, standards and regulatory frameworks must be adjusted to change the situations, “We can no longer allow in this century.”
President Peña Nieto assured Miranda Wallace and the association she represents of his continuing commitment, “To be an ally on this front. To work together with you and with all of you to have a model that contributes to the protection and defense of victims, which is why we are working to have equity so that there really is justice.”
The president noted that it was in order to enhance and strengthen the capacity of Mexican State institutions, and “To ensure the rights of victims, to ensure the right of each and every Mexican,” that the New Criminal Justice System was launched.
He said that this has forced the Mexican government to train all the actors involved in this system, which provides guarantees and recognizes the rights of all Mexicans, and, “Is based on the recognition or presumption of innocence of the accused”.
He said that, “Today, law enforcement and justice administration agencies will have the responsibility of being much more professional, being able to undertake duly substantiated investigations, based on scientific evidence where appropriate, which forensic investigations should provide in order to effectively prove the guilt of any defendant or of any person allegedly responsible for committing a crime”.
This model, he continued, is based on the need for a new model designed to ensure justice, "so that there are not, as happens and must be acknowledged, innocent people in jail or criminals at large. Therefore, we must ensure that the implementation of this model of justice ensures this condition, that those who not responsible and are not criminals are not in jail; but rather those who are serving their sentences in prison, with the weight of justice,” he said.
PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE CONDITIONS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCED BY CRIME VICTIMS: Isabel Miranda de Wallace
After stating that care for victims is a legal and moral state obligation and that fulfilling this would, “Increase citizens’ confidence so that they would approach the system to report the crimes they have suffered,” Isabel Miranda de Wallace, President of the Stop Kidnapping Association, assured President Enrique Peña Nieto that he, “Has the power to change the conditions currently experienced by crime victims and put them at the center of the system of the enforcement and administration of justice”.
The state, she said, “Has the obligation to protect the innocent, punish the guilty and not let crime go unpunished, as stated in the Constitution. To this end, it must be said: there is an urgent need to transform the rules whereby victims are cared for,” and urged the president to stand on the right side of history and join and support their cause. "With your help, we are confident we will be able to make the transition from victims to survivors,” she said.
She noted that the operators of the system, particularly judges, must understand, “That is it not necessary to override victims’ rights to enforce the human rights of the accused”.
She told the president of her requests: for victims to have access to justice and truth; to change the law of victims, which is now inoperative; to have sufficient, well-qualified victim lawyers to level the playing field; to participate in the complaints filed with various human rights bodies against the accused, particularly as regards cases of torture.
They should also participate in the reports submitted by the Mexican State to international organizations, such as those presented by the Interior Secretariat, the Foreign Secretariat and the PGR itself and work on the drafting and signing of the Treaty on the Protection of the Rights of Victims in the UN and the OAS, she said.
THE FACULTY TO LEGISLATE ON VICTIMS IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF STATE POLICY: ROBERTO GIL ZUARTH
Senator Roberto Gil Zuarth, Chairman of the Board of the Senate, said that the Constitutional Reform that authorizes the General Congress to legislate on victims is a new opportunity to take an additional step in the construction of this state policy.
Accordingly, he said that people in this country should begin to talk about guarantees for victims, the defense and promotion of their rights and needs, “Their care and their condition, precisely because of their position with regard to the state. And in the construction of victims’ guarantees, we must draw lessons from these early stages regarding what has not worked in the construction of these institutions.”
He said that efforts must be made to correct what is wrong, strengthen the state's response in the effective protection of victims, clearly distribute competences, clearly establish what solutions are available when a local authority fails to attend, or is unwilling to attend a victim; what authority will be there precisely to respond to a victim who is requesting and needs the support of the state, because it is their right.
"This constitutional reform, as our beloved Isabel said, provides that opportunity. The Senate will be attentive to the construction of this new phase in defending victims’ rights,” said Senator Gil Zuarth.
THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES PLEDGES TO CAREFULLY REVIEW THE BILL FOR THE GENERAL LAW ON CRIME VICTIMS: JESÚS ZAMBRANO
The Chamber of Deputies will carefully review the bill for the General Law of Crime Victims, which the No More Kidnapping Association presented to President Enrique Peña Nieto and the legislature today, said President of the Chamber of Deputies Jesús Zambrano Grijalva.
He noted that for those who have a legislative function, it is essential to be aware of everything regarded as evident in practice, “Which must be reviewed so that we can standardize it and give it shape”.
Likewise, Zambrano Grijalva said that society is beginning to leave behind scenarios of inequality, uncertainty and inequality in justice, and that, “We are in a new phase of institutional development in our country.”
He recalled that with the publication of the General Law of Victims and their subsequent reform, both in 2013, “The Mexican government built a legal and institutional framework to ensure, protect and promote the rights of crime victims and human rights violations, which until then, had not been properly recognized much less protected.”
WE ARE ON A PATH THAT SHOULD LEAD US TO A TUTELAGE WITH EQUAL RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS AND VICTIMIZERS: MINISTER LUNA RAMOS
On behalf of Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Luis María Aguilar Morales, Minister Margarita Beatriz Luna Ramos said that moderation is the result of maturation and that society is already on this route: “It is a path that should lead us to tutelage with full equality of rights for victims and victimizers," adding that, “today, we are taking a decisive step to redress these shortcomings. We are beginning to undermine the historical disregard for the rules concerning victims’ rights”.
She said that, “The new Criminal Justice System, based on the principles of publicity, equality between parties and in the eyes of the law; continuity and concentration, among others, involves a change of culture we must assume with greater responsibility to make it viable and give a satisfactory answer to society through serious, reliable, predictable legal bodies that continuously legitimize their actions.
She also noted that, “The effective implementation of constitutional reforms requires joint efforts by the entire legal community, open discussion that promotes the evolution of law without discarding those criteria which, since they form the basis of our system, the Constituent Assembly considers unchangeable; serious, responsible proposals whose sole objective is the development of an efficient, reliable legal system with clear, universal rules, whose implementation is real rather than illusory”.