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Mexico judge clears ex-president of genocide charges

[JURIST] A Mexican judge Saturday cleared ex-president Luis Echeverria [JURIST news archive] of genocide charges in connection with his role in repressing a 1968 student revolt [backgrounder] while he was the country's Interior Minister. According to Echeverria's lawyer, the judge ruled that the charges could not stand because of Mexico's statute of limitations. BBC News has more. From Mexico City, El Universal has local coverage [in Spanish].

Echeverria, who served as president of Mexico [JURIST news archive] between 1970 and 1976 and is now 84, was put under house arrest [JURIST report] last week after a Mexican appeals court ruled it had enough evidence to charge him for the deaths of as many as 300 protestors killed when government forces fired on the students. Incumbent Mexican President Vicente Fox, who ran in 2000 as the candidate of the opposition PANA party that beat Echeverria's PNI, had made the Echeverria prosecution a cause celebre of his presidency, now coming to an end after the apparent election of a successor [JURIST report] this week. In June 2005 the Mexican Supreme Court [official website] ruled 3-2 that Echeverria could be prosecuted [JURIST report], but individual judges refused to issue arrest warrants on two previous occasions, ruling [JURIST report] most recently in September 2005 that the statute of limitations for genocide had indeed run out, and that the 1968 killings did not qualify as genocide.

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