Mexico is currently in the process of undergoing a change in their military structure that may have many effects on the way their ongoing war against the drug cartels plays out. As things stand now, military personnel, regardless of whatever crime they happen to commit, get tried under a military court on the grounds of breaching military discipline. Now, a judge's ruling has stated that this sort of system goes against the constitution of the country and that it needs to be changed.
The current system does not address the rights of Mexican civilians nor does it guarantee that they will get the justice they often deserve. The military structure, much like the government and media organizations in Mexico, is known for having its fair share of corruption within. This potential corruption in the military is demonstrated in statistics that show nearly 5000 cases of human rights violations leveled against military personnel and only 38 of these cases leading to conviction. The numbers, when looked at over time, show that they have seen a substantial increase following the intensification of the war against the drug cartels.
The whole thing was finally brought to light following the shooting death of a man in Southern Mexico. The shooter was a soldier who was said to have opened fire on a bus that the man happened to be riding in. If this case were taken to military court instead of using the civilian justice system, it would leave little recourse for the victim’s family. Unfortunately, the ruling is but one out of five that is needed to set a precedent and actually get the laws changed.
If the system does eventually change, Mexico could be looking at one of two things. Either the military will begin to comply with law more and some of the potential for corruption will be removed, or those within the military that are working with the cartels may seek other means to rot the system from within, such as ignoring problems. It may also have the effect of weakening the military by restricting what they are allowed to do in pursuit of Mexico’s major criminals. If cartel members start suing soldiers out of spite, what would be the end result? Hopefully, it will be a change for the better and Mexico will be one step closer to finishing the conflict that has been going on in the country for far too long.