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      What is PGR?


 

 

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The Office of the Mexican Attorney-General (hereinafter PGR) is the body of the Federal Executive Branch, which is mainly in charge of investigating and prosecuting the crimes in federal matters and whose Chief Law Enforcement Officer is Mexican Attorney General, who heads the Federal Public Prosecutor
and its auxiliary bodies which are the investigative police agents and the experts.

 
This office is in charge of those issues entrusted to the Mexican Attorney General and the Federal Public Prosecutor by the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, the Organic Law of the Office of the Mexican Attorney General, its Internal Regulations and other legal ordinances.

 

      History

   
   

The Public Prosecutor has its origin in the Spanish law, which foresaw the existence of officers called attorneys, who were in charge of enforcing the law and prosecuting criminals. During colonial times, they were part of the Royal Hearings, in c​​ompliance with the laws issued on October 5th, 1626, and on October 9th, 1812. Attorneys continued to be provided for in the Constitutions of Apatzingan in 1814, and in the Federal Constitution of 1824 they were included into the Judicial Branch organization; the first provided for two attorneys, one for criminal and one for civil matters, as members of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; in the latter Constitution one attorney was incorporated to the Supreme Court of Justice and prosecuting attorneys were incorporated to the Circuit Tribunals. The Law of Circuit
Tribunals and District Courts issued on May 22nd, 1824, appointed a prosecuting attorney for each District Court.

 
The Constitutional Laws of 1836 determined that the Supreme Court of Justice would be comprised of 11 ministers (highest ranking judges) and one attorney that could not be removed from his charge unless a trial for removal was held against him before the Federal Congress. The Organic Regulations of 1843 only made reference to the attorney as a member of the Supreme Court. The Lares Law of 1853, aside from the attorney “who will be heard in the criminal cases”, mentions, for the first time on a constitutional level, the position of Attorney General with a rank similar to a Minister (highest ranking judge) of the Supreme Court of Justice, who may be appointed or removed by the President at his will, and with the authority to take part in the defense of the national interests. The Law on Administration of Justice, issued by President Juan Alvarez in 1855, appointed two attorneys as members of the Supreme Court. The 1857 Constitution kept the Attorney’s Office in the Federal Tribunals, as well as an Attorney General as a member of the Supreme Court of Justice. During the discussions of the 1857 Constitution the Public Prosecutor was mentioned for the first time, as being entitled to file charges before a Court on behalf of the society; but in spite of this the position was not institutionally established.

 
The Internal Regulations of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, issued by the President Benito Juarez in 1862, established that the Justice Attorney should be “heard in all criminal cases or cases of liability, in all affairs concerning the Court’s competence or jurisdiction, in the consultations concerning doubts about the Law, and whenever he (the Justice Attorney) requests it or the Court deems it appropriate”.

 
Moreover, it pointed out that the Attorney General would take part “in all affairs related to the Treasury or the responsibility of its employees or agents in which, for the same reasons, the public funds were involved”. 

 
The 1880 and 1894 Codes of Criminal Proceedings; the 1985 Code of Federal Proceedings; and the 1903 and 1908 Organic Laws of the Public Prosecutor in Federal and Local Matters, respectively, are key documents for understanding how the Public Prosecutors and Judicial Police agents worked before the 1917 Constitution.
The State Departments Law of 1891 included the Federal Public Prosecutor (Ministerio Público Federal) within the Departments of Justice and Public Education. In the amendments made in May 1900, to articles 91 and 96 of the Constitution of 1857 the Federal Public Prosecutor and the Mexican Attorney General were separated from the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, using for the first time the term Federal Public Prosecutor. The first Organic Law of the Federal Public Prosecutor was issued in December of 1908.

 
The 1917 Constitution establishes in criminal matters, a double function of the Federal Public Prosecutor: being in charge of bringing criminal action and being the chief of judicial police, as well as being responsible for the prosecution of federal crimes.

 
Likewise, the Mexican Attorney General was bestowed, on a personal level, with the post of Legal Adviser of the Government and was allowed to intervene in all affairs concerning the Federation. Article 107 stands out by establishing the general foundations that regulate the amparo proceedings, making reference to the Federal Public Prosecutor. (Amparo is a Constitutional challenge to the validity of the governmental action or act applied in Mexico only. It protects people against unlawful and arbitrary governmental acts o actions).

 
The second Organic Law was issued in August 1919, in which the Federal Public Prosecutor is given the responsibility to intervene as party in all amparo proceedings. A third Organic Law was issued in August 1934, in which the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General was restructured.

During the administration of President Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940), the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General started the fight against drug trafficking by preventing illicit drug cultivation and importation. The fourth Organic Law was issued in January 1942, with an innovation concerning the duty for all federal and local authorities of ensuring the respect for the Constitution. In 1951, article 107, section XV, of the Constitution was amended, establishing that the Mexican Attorney-General or an agent from the Federal Public Prosecutor Office would take part in all amparo proceedings and could abstain from participating when such proceedings would not involve public affairs. The Fifth Organic Law was issued on November 10th, 1955, and published in the Federal Official Gazette on November 26th of the same year.

 
During its evolution, the Federal Public Prosecutor has been governed by diverse legal ordinances, among the most important are the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General Organic Law and Internal Regulations, that have been amended in several occasions; the most recent amendment was made on November 1st, 2001.


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