soldier makes arrest Off to jail, for who knows how long.

Mexico almost dead last in impunity index

Lack of judges cited as main factor in second-place ranking

The numbers confirm what most people already know: impunity in Mexico is about as bad as it can get.

A new analysis called the Global Impunity Index 2015 (IGI) ranked Mexico at second from the bottom on an international scale. It also found that a country’s wealth does not favorably impact its impunity index, nor does increasing police funding without ensuring effective judicial processes.

With 75.7 points, Mexico trails behind only the Philippines, at 80. To determine a country’s level on the impunity index the study analyzed 14 indicators, including the number of police and judges per 100,000 inhabitants, the incidence of extrajudicial executions and kidnappings and the percentage of people incarcerated without sentences.

Developed by the University of the Americas in Puebla (UDLAP) and the Puebla Citizen’s Council on Safety and Justice, it is said to be the first analysis of its kind.

After analyzing and comparing data from 59 United Nations member countries, the IGI observed that those with the highest level of impunity are the Philippines, Mexico, Colombia, Russia and Turkey, which all have structural problems in their public safety and judicial systems. By contrast, the nations with the lowest IGI are Croatia at 27.5 points, Slovenia 28.2, the Czech Republic 34.8, Montenegro 34.9, and Bulgaria 37.5.

Those countries, it was noted, possess sound safety and judicial systems and respect human rights.

IGI data revealed that for each 100,000 inhabitants, Bulgaria has 57 judges, Slovenia 48, Croatia 45 and Montenegro 42, well over the global average of just 17 per 100,000. Mexico came in with a mere four judges per 100,000 people. In terms of public safety, Mexico has 355 police officers per 100,000 residents, as compared to the global average of 332.

The study observes that Mexico’s strategy to improve security has focused on two actions: creating more and better police forces, such as the creation of the Gendarmerie, and legislation which increases severe penalties for high-impact crimes.

Yet the measurements shown in the index indicate an overpopulation in Mexico’s penitentiary system is due to the judicial system not keeping up, and appropriately sentencing all of the incarcerated population. The study concludes that a more robust judicial branch has a greater impact on impunity than increasing the number of police officers.

The phenomenon of impunity casts doubt on Mexico’s ability to fulfill the right to a speedy and transparent judicial process. The IGI notes that the majority of investigations into suspected, detained, arrested or arraigned individuals are not conducted openly. It also highlights the fact that 46% of the detained population is awaiting sentencing, in some cases for years.

The IGI found that a country’s wealth, measured by its GDP, is not a determining factor in the level of impunity.

The report concluded by stating that “Mexico does not need to increasingly invest in more police, but in the processes which guarantee their effectiveness,” suggesting that fixing the problem will require adding more judges to deliver more prompt sentencing.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.