Submission ID: SEM-03-004
Party concerned: Mexico
Date filed: June 17, 2003
Submission Status: Closed
Latest Update: June 2, 2008
The final factual record was publicly released.
Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submitter asserts that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws with respect to a citizen complaint he filed with the Office of the Federal Attorney General for Environmental Protection (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente-Profepa) in 1995. The Submitter alleges that there are environmental irregularities in the operation of a footwear materials factory by ALCA, S.A. de C.V. (ALCA)in the Santa Isabel Industrial neighborhood of Iztapalapa Delegation in Mexico, D.F., where the Submitter lives. He asserts that his health and that of his family have been affected by the pollution generated by the factory. The submission asserts that ALCA is failing to comply with Article 150 of the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilíbrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente-LGEEPA) in regard to the management of the factory’s hazardous waste, and that the environmental authority is failing, with respect to ALCA, to enforce Article 414, first paragraph, and Article 415 of the Federal Penal Code (Código Penal Federal), which establish penalties of imprisonment and fines where failure to properly manage substances considered to be hazardous waste results in harm to the environment.
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
With respect to the 1995 denuncia popular, in which the Submitter asserted that Alca was violating Article 150 of the LGEEPA, the Party states in its response that the Office of the Federal Attorney General for Environmental Protection (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente-Profepa) processed the file as required by law. It also reports that the official record was lost in a flood at the Profepa archive for closed files, but notes that the complaint did not lead to any criminal investigation. With respect to another denuncia popular, filed by the Submitter in 2000, the Party claims that the case was closed with the issuance of an administrative ruling levying a fine of $2,421 pesos against Alca. As regards Alca’s alleged violations of Article 415, first paragraph of the Federal Penal Code, the Party asserts that pursuant to a technical report issued by agents of the Public Prosecutor (Ministerio Público), neither the commission of the crime nor the likely liability of the suspects was clearly evidenced, “as we deduce from the acts that although the alleged facts may constitute a crime, it is impossible to determine whether the crime exists due to irreparable material hindrance, because the proof provided is insufficient to evidence the crime.” With respect to proceedings filed by the Submitter against officials of Profepa, Mexico claims that they were concluded without the issuance of any penalty, for want of evidence regarding the alleged responsibility of the public servants involved. The Party states that it cannot release more information regarding these proceedings because such information has been classified as reserved by the Internal Control Agency of the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales).
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
Article 150 of the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilíbrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente-LGEEPA); Article 414, first paragraph, and Article 415 of the Federal Penal Code (Código Penal Federal)
Angel Lara García
The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 30/06/2003
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 11/03/2003
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 09/09/2003
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 03/12/2003
The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.
Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 23/08/2004
The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.
Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 09/06/2005
The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.
Workplan - Overall workplan for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 21/07/2005
The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.
Secretariat Information Request - Secretariat request for information for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 16/11/2005
The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.
The Secretariat received comments from the United States.
The Secretariat received comments from Canada.
The Secretariat received comments from Mexico.
The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.
Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.
Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 30/05/2008
The final factual record was publicly released.
Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 16/11/2007