Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The Submitters allege that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law at a hazardous waste landfill owned by Cytrar, S.A. de C.V. in Sonora, Mexico. The Submitters filed two previous submissions regarding the operation of the Cytrar facility. Like the second submission, the new submission asserts that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law in relation to the establishment and operation of the Cytrar landfill. The Submitters assert that Cytrar, in violation of applicable environmental laws, operated the site without an environmental impact authorization; did not comply with design specifications regarding cell lining; and allowed hazardous waste from the US to be buried at the site. The Submitters allege that these actions have caused damage to human health and the environment. They also assert that environmental authorities failed to launch legal proceedings against the company in regard to the alleged violations, and are failing to provide the Submitters with access to information regarding the site.

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

Mexico responds to all the Submitters’ assertions. It claims that the environmental impact authorization provisions on which the Submitters rely were not in force at the time authorization for the landfill was originally sought. As regards the storage of imported hazardous waste, Mexico states that Cytrar was not the importer of that waste and that it had the required disposal authorization. With respect to the alleged failure to take legal action in regard to alleged crimes against the environment, the Party responds that after investigations it determined that there was no basis for criminal charges. In addition, the response asserts that the denuncia popular filed by the Submitters was resolved when the complainants were informed of the penalties levied against Cytrar for detected irregularities. Finally, with respect to access to information, the Party claims to have notified the Submitters that their request was forwarded to the department that has the information requested. In its response, Mexico states that it considers that it has effectively enforced its environmental law, in that it refused to renew Cytrar’s operating permit because of detected irregularities and has requested a landfill closure plan. According to the Party, these actions gave rise to an arbitration claim by Cytrar’s investment partner, TECMED, against Mexico before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Mexico claims that in May 2003, the arbitration tribunal ruled that by refusing to renew Cytrar’s operating permit, Mexico violated its obligations under its Agreement for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments with Spain. Mexico was required to pay US$5,533,017.12, plus interest. Mexico asserts that the site known as Cytrar will be remediated in full once Mexico has paid the arbitral award.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Federal Environmental Protection Law, article 7 General Law on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA), articles 28, 29, 32 and 153 LGEEPA Regulation on Hazardous Waste, article 7 Federal Criminal Code, article 415 Technical Ecological Standard NTE-CRP-010/88 Mexican Official Standard NOM-CRP-006-ECOL/1993

Submitter(s):

Academia Sonorense de Derechos Humanos, AC and Domingo Gutiérrez Mendívil

Submission Timeline

August 15, 2003

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 21/08/2003

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 12/08/2003

August 29, 2003

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 29/08/2003

November 21, 2003

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 19/11/2003

Acknowledgement - authored by Secretariat on 25/11/2003

October 27, 2004

The Secretariat determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record. Under guideline 9.6, the process was terminated.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 15 (1) authored by Secretariat on 27/10/2004