In 2021, TOJIL succeeded in having a Justice of a Collegiate Federal Court in Criminal Matters recognize our organization as a victim of corruption within a criminal proceeding against the Head of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE) and other public servants.
In February 2020, the Superior Auditor of the Federation detected irregularities in managing the National Commission of Culture and Sports (CONADE) resources. Therefore, in March 2020, TOJIL filed a complaint for possible acts of corruption against the Head of the CONADE, Ana Gabriela Guevara Espinoza, and other public servants and companies that possibly diverted approximately 50.8 million Mexican pesos from the trust fund «Fund for High-Performance Sports» (FODEPAR).
The Special Prosecutor for Combating Corruption and, subsequently, a District Judge denied TOJIL’s legal standing as a victim of corruption-related crimes. In essence, both authorities considered that the commission of the corruption crime had not violated any rights of the organization since it was not the holder of any collective legal right.
Dissatisfied with the above, in October 2021, TOJIL filed an appeal before a Federal Collegiate Court. In December 2021, the Court confirmed the district judge’s decision in a divided ruling. However, Magistrate Ricardo Paredes Calderón issued a dissenting vote in which he recognized the existence of collective rights and the legal standing of social organizations as victims of corruption-related crimes. In the words of the Magistrate himself:
«The citizenry and civil society organizations can actively participate in the criminal procedure. Otherwise, if they are only considered as reporters of corruption-related crimes and not as parties in the procedure, they would be limited to being mere spectators of the development of the criminal investigation when what is currently intended is to grant them more relevant participation in monitoring the activities of authorities that investigate and combat acts of corruption.»
«From this point of view, I consider that the proper functioning of the public administration is a collective right that maintains a close link with society as a whole, as well as with constitutionally safeguarded values and principles, such as a democratic regime, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and honesty. The proper functioning of public institutions and their administration is inexorably linked to interests that give it meaning; general interests that are relative to all citizens and not to the interests of a particular group.»
TOJIL widely celebrates the criteria of Magistrate Ricardo Paredes Calderón, representing a huge step in favor of civil society becoming an accurate and effective counterweight to achieve justice in corruption-related cases that affect everyone.