IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on Mexico to ensure that the process to select a new member of its Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) reflects the applicable international standards, to make sure that a suitable individual is appointed for the position.
A position recently became vacant on the SCJN, given the resignation of a justice that was approved by Congress on November 15. This means that the constitutional process to appoint a new SCJN justice in Mexico is set to be launched soon. The State said that the process to select SCJN justices applies the rules held in Mexico's Constitution—the country's highest law—in keeping with the legality principle.
Judicial officers play an essential role to ensure access to justice and preserve the rule of law. All selection and appointment processes must be fair and non-discriminatory and must be based on merit, ability, suitability, and integrity to ensure the independence of judicial officers and prevent discretionary appointments. Selection and appointment processes must comply with the applicable standards, held in the IACHR report Guarantees for the independence of justice operators.
The selection process for judicial officers must also ensure an adequate representation of various social groups, particularly by enforcing gender parity in the make-up of judicial institutions.
The whole process needs to be duly publicized and has to be transparent, while broad participation from civil society and other stakeholders needs to be ensured so they know the selection criteria and are able to express their opinion on the different candidates.
The Commission therefore reminds the State that it is essential that this process reflect the applicable inter-American standards and regulations, as all equivalent processes to appoint members of the highest courts in countries in the Americas must do to protect due process and the right to access justice.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.