Mexico City, Mexico
On September 24, 2019, in Mexico City, the Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ/OPDAT) sponsored the inauguration of a project that entails the creation of two benchbooks (judicial guides). In early 2019, Mexico’s Federal Judicial Council (CJF) sought DOJ/OPDAT support in drafting benchbooks to increase judicial economy, decrease caseloads, and standardize judicial practices. These formal benchbooks, the first designed specifically for judges operating in Mexico’s new accusatory criminal justice system, will build the capacity of judges and encourage the standardization of best practices. One benchbook will focus on initial and intermediate hearings, the other on trials. DOJ/OPDAT will oversee the process, which is funded by the Merida Initiative. United States Ambassador Christopher Landau gave the opening remarks on behalf of the embassy and Mexico Supreme Court Justice Javier Laynez Potisek spoke on behalf of the Mexican judiciary. The Chief Justice’s for the state of Puebla and Mexico City also participated. The inauguration was attended by approximately 100 state and federal judges, along with the significant justice sector actors from Mexico and Colombia.