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Mexico court clears ex-president of genocide charges

[JURIST] A Mexican appeals court on Thursday affirmed a lower court ruling that absolved former president Luis Echeverria [TrialWatch backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of any criminal responsibility for the 1968 killings of student protesters [GWU backgrounder] in Mexico City's Tlatelolco Plaza. The Fifth Criminal Collegiate Court upheld the Third United Criminal Tribunal's July 2007 finding [JURIST report] that the act constituted genocide but that the prosecution had presented no evidence [Universal report, in Spanish] linking Echeverria to the crime. Echeverria, who has been under house arrest since 2006, was released [Jornada, report, in Spanish] Thursday after the ruling.

In December 2006, 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] 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], but no charges have been brought.

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