In the opinion of the retired minister José Ramón Cossío, there are risks of new attacks and criticism of the Judiciary by the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obradorif in the debate this Monday on preventive detention the ministers fail under a different legal interpretation to the feeling of the Head of the Federal Executive in this matter.
Indeed, he points out, a decision by the Court that is different from the one expected by the President could lead him to criticize and continue with very abstract remarks regarding the Judiciary, and that is a great risk for the public discussion.
He rules out that, as the President pointed out in one of his morning conferences, limiting this figure encourages impunity and corruption, and considers that in the President’s position against delimiting the preventive prison there is not a complete understanding of all the elements involved in the discussion.
Also read: “Removing preventive detention can affect society”: Eduardo Ramírez
In this sense, he affirms that there is a false debate in Mexican society because none of the ministers is saying that pretrial detention should disappear: what is being said is that unofficial pretrial detention should disappear, but the figure of justified pretrial detention, yes. is accepted internationally.
In your opinion, does informal preventive detention harm or not the presumption of innocence of a person?
—I think it does hurt her because automatically crimes, a catalog of crimes, are considered sufficient cause to take or submit people to process. There is still more than the accusation, there is clues on the responsibility of the person, but he is deprived of his liberty and put in a difficult condition for his own defense.
Is there talk of the risks of not having this figure in serious cases of crimes that offend society, such as kidnapping?
—There is a false debate in Mexican society. There is a false debate because nobody is saying that preventive detention will disappear. What is being said is that informal pretrial detention should disappear, since justified pretrial detention is accepted by international standards.
The only question is that the Public Prosecutor’s Office, when it appears before the Control judge, must inform him of the reasons why it asks that a person be in justified preventive detention, but say that preventive detention is going to disappear and all people are going to take to the streets is where the false debate is, because nobody is proposing that.
How is this false debate damaging the debate itself and society?
—I think that what happens in this false debate is that people are imagining that tomorrow pre-trial detention ends and all the people who are subjected to that sentence, regardless of the severity and independence of the crimes, are going to go out to jail. the street and that’s not going to be like that.
The minister’s project Norma Lucia Pina Hernandezwhich is to be discussed this Monday, says, with great reason, that article 19 of the Constitution is invalidated and that the judge will assess whether or not the people who requested the protection are dangerous, because if they are and it is possible to identify that, well that they remain in prison, but if they are not people in dangerous conditions that were established in the national code of criminal procedures, then they can go out on the street and face their process, eye, in freedom.
Nor does the declaration of unconstitutionality in informal preventive detention mean that people are no longer subject to criminal proceedings to determine whether or not they are responsible for committing a crime.
Also read: When and when is informal preventive detention applied?
A few days ago in his morning conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador considered that changing the meaning of this criminal type could lead to impunity and corruption. What opinion do you deserve?
—I do not believe that a decision of the Court in the sense of this type fosters corruption and impunity. I think it must be understood that, effectively, prosecutors who request preventive detention will have more burden, on the one hand, and on the other hand, judges who have to determine whether or not a person is informally subjected to prison will have more burden.
That would be all, but if someone arrives and says: ‘Mr. Judge, I consider that this person is responsible for this and that crime committed against this or that person, given his dangerousness, given his possibility of escaping, given that he does not there is another measure, I ask you, Mr. Judge, to leave him during the process deprived of his liberty’, and the judge will say yes or no, but from that, I insist, that corruption, impunity or social disorder be produced by that fact , frankly I don’t see it; I think there is not a complete understanding of all the elements involved in the discussion.
Do you consider that there has been an abuse of this figure?
—I think so, because many people are presented with clues, they say: ‘I think this person committed a crime of this or that nature,’ and with that the person is now separated from their ordinary life, they no longer have the freedom. So, I do believe that there has been an abuse and some of the crimes that allow preventive detention, because they are sometimes very, very strong.
At the end of the day, it could lead to the acquittal of this person in sentence, and that acquittal is magically accompanied by an ‘excuse me’, because he has been in jail there for several years in appalling conditions that in general the prisons of the country, such as overcrowding, lack of resources, everything that has been confirmed in many reports, not now, but for many years; then, people enter a complex situation, which harms their lives and their families.
They also leave prison with a social stain and have little chance of re-entering the labor market, in short, all these issues must be considered, but no one leaves if they are a dangerous person or in a criminal condition. It would be that it can cause damage to society, to heritage, it is a person making a request, I do not see why the judges are releasing everyone happily, as there is an impression that this is going to happen.
Don’t you have a certain fear that what the Supreme Court decides will not go in the direction of what the President wants and that there will be a new political attack on the Judiciary?
-I think so. The President has been making strong remarks towards the Judiciary for some time now. I am not saying that all the people who are in the Judiciary do not have any type of blemish. I think there will be people who will have some issues, but it seems to me that whoever is accused of something has to identify behaviors and taste them.
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