Mexico criminal court clears ex-president of genocide charges Michael Sung at 9:55 AM ET
[JURIST] The Mexican federal Third United Criminal Tribunal Thursday absolved former President Luis Echeverria [TrialWatch profile; JURIST news archive] of any criminal responsibility for a 1968 student protester massacre [backgrounder], despite ruling that the student massacre, which took place during Echeverria's term as Interior Minister, constituted genocide. Chief judge Jesus Guadalupe Luna announced that the tribunal found no evidence that Echeverria was involved in the massacre. The ruling can be appealed, although human rights activists and Echeverria's lawyers say it was unlikely to be overturned.
Last December, a court report accused Echeverria of directly ordering [JURIST report] government authorities to repress the student protest, during which at least 25 but as many as 350 students were killed. Echeverria is also 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]. A special prosecutor's office designed to investigate the crimes was closed [JURIST report] by departing President Vicente Fox [BBC profile]. The Washington Post has more.
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