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Mexico appeals court says ex-president can be charged with genocide

[JURIST] A Mexican appeals court ruled Wednesday that a genocide trial against former Mexican President Luis Echeverria [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] may proceed as long as prosecutors file formal charges against him before Friday, when the 30-year statute of limitations ends. The court effectively reversed previous rulings [JURIST report] that the statute of limitations had already expired because Echeverria ended his role as the interior minister of Mexico [JURIST news archive] in 1969. Judges instead adopted the prosecution's argument [JURIST report] that the limitations period did not begin to run until December 1, 1976 when Echeverria left the presidency and therefore gave up his immunity against prosecution.

Echeverria is accused [JURIST report; Mexico AG report] of involvement in the murders and disappearances of more than 500 leftist dissidents during a period of time in the 1960s and 1970s called Mexico's "dirty war" [National Security Archive backgrounder]. Echeverria has denied all wrongdoing, including his alleged role in the October 1968 Tlatelolco massacre [backgrounder; BBC report] which left dozens of students dead. Current Mexican President Vicente Fox [official website; BBC profile], who leaves office on Friday, has focused on holding government officials responsible for committing human rights abuses during his administration. The New York Times has more.

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