The Bonfilio Rubio Villegas Case
On June 20, 2009, Mr. Bonfilio Rubio Villegas, a Nahua native from Tlatzala, Tlapa de Comonfort, state of Guerrero, was victim of an extrajudicial execution committed at a military checkpoint while he was travelling by bus, near the city of Huamuxtitlán, state of Guerrero. His execution was committed during a “routine inspection” by military officials stationed at the checkpoint; no one has been held accountable for his death. His case was filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on January 2, 2017, by the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña, Tlachinollan, the Centro de Derechos Humanos José María Morelos y Pavón and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
Mr. Bonfilio Rubio’s case represents one of many related to gross human rights violations committed at military checkpoints, a historic practice in Mexico that has increased since the militarization of the country. A landmark case decided in 2009 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights was the first time the regional human rights body addressed this problematic practice in Mexico and found the State responsible for the detention and enforced disappearance of Mr. Rosendo Radilla Pacheco at a military checkpoint in the state of Guerrero.
In 2016, the National Commission on Human Rights filed a constitutional challenge before the National Supreme Court of Justice against several articles from the Military Justice Code and the Military Code on Criminal Procedures, that is still pending judgment. Among the articles alleged as unconstitutional are those that foresee inspections of vehicles and persons, without judicial authorization, such as military checkpoints.
In March, 2018, the National Supreme Court of Justice ruled on two constitutional challenges filed against several articles from the National Code on Criminal Procedures that foresee, among other issues, the “inspection of vehicles and persons;” however, the Supreme Court restricted its assessment to situations concerning the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and not their prevention, which would have included, checkpoints, preventive inspections on public transports, ports, airports, borders, and highways, as well as other administrative inspections.
Moreover, between 2006 and June, 2018, the National Commission on Human Rights issued at least 13 recommendations directed to military institutions related with gross human rights violations committed at military checkpoints, including illegal or