government: federal republic
state of civil and political rights: Partly free
constitution: 5 February 1917
legal system: mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts;
legislative system: bicameral National Congress (Congreso de la Union) consists of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies
judicial system: Supreme Court of Justice whose judges are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate
religion: Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3%, other 0.3%
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
American Convention on Human Rights
Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to abolish the Death Penalty
Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
On June 23, 2005, Mexico's House approved a measure striking the death penalty from the Constitution and inserting language expressly prohibiting capital punishment. By a vote of 412-0, with two abstentions, lawmakers passed a measure approved on March 17 by the Senate. The amendment modified Articles 14 and 22 of the constitution eliminating the possibility of issuing a sentence of death for all the crimes the penalty had been provided for. On November 8, 2005, after this reform was approved by the majority of the Federated States, the Senate adopted a final decree abolishing capital punishment from Mexico’s Constitution. The modification entered into force on December 9, 2005. The Constitution of the United States of Mexico (1917) at Art. 22 stated: "The death penalty is prohibited for political crimes, and, in relation to other crimes, can only be imposed for treason during international war, parricide, first degree murder, arson, kidnapping, banditry, piracy and grave military offences." The preceding offences were considered a threat to society when the Constitution was first introduced, but had then only a symbolic function. The death penalty cannot be applied, in fact, because it was not included in any state or federal code. The military penal code was the only part of Mexico’s statutes that still effectively allowed for the application of capital punishment.
But on April 21, 2005, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies approved a bill abolishing the death penalty under military jurisdiction and replacing it with prison terms ranging from 30 to 60 years. With 346 votes in favour, none against, and three abstentions the plenum ratified the amendments to the Code of Military Justice which had already been approved by the Senate in April 2004. The reforms to the Military Code wanted by the government of Vicente Fox and by the higher echelons of the military, replaced capital punishment with between 30 and 60 years imprisonment. The last execution in Mexico took place in 1961, when a soldier, Isaías Constante Laureano, was put to death for the murder of an officer in Saltillo Coahuila. On November 29, 2005, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that suspects facing life in prison can be extradited, overturning a 4-year-old ban that had prevented many of the country's most-notorious criminals from being sent to the US. A 1978 treaty with the US allowed Mexico to deny extradition if a person faced the death penalty. In 2001, the Supreme Court also blocked extradition of suspects facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. On March 31, 2004, the International Court of Justice upheld an appeal presented by Mexico in 2003 and ordered the United States to review the cases of 51 Mexican nationals on death row in ten US states. The Court established that the US violated the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not informing the accused of their right to legal assistance from their own consulate.
On December 19, 2016, Mexico co-sponsored and voted again in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.