Responses to Information Requests

​​​​​​​Responses to Information Requests (RIRs) are research reports on country conditions. They are requested by IRB decision-makers.

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Responses to Information Requests (RIRs) cite publicly accessible information available at the time of publication and within time constraints. A list of references and additional sources consulted are included in each RIR. Sources cited are considered the most current information available as of the date of the RIR.            

RIRs are not, and do not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Rather, they are intended to support the refugee determination process. More information on the methodology used by the Research Directorate can be found here.          

The assessment and weight to be given to the information in the RIRs are the responsibility of independent IRB members (decision-makers) after considering the evidence and arguments presented by the parties.           

The information presented in RIRs solely reflects the views and perspectives of the sources cited and does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRB or the Government of Canada.          

12 January 2010


Mexico: Whether "death threats" are specifically mentioned in the Federal Criminal Code (Código Penal Federal, CPF) and/or state criminal codes; if so, punishment specified
Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board du Canada, Ottawa

"Death threats" are not mentioned in the Federal Criminal Code (Código Penal Federal, CPF) nor in any of Mexico's 31 state criminal codes (Mexico 14 Aug. 1931; Aguascalientes 1 Aug. 1949; Baja California 20 Aug. 1989; Baja California Sur 15 Jan. 1991; Campeche 2 Jan. 1976; Chiapas 11 Oct. 1990; Chihuahua 18 Feb. 1987; Coahuila 28 May 1999; Colima 27 July 1985; Durango 3 July 1991; Guanajuato 4 May 1978; Guerrero 14 Nov. 1986; Hidalgo 9 June 1990; Jalisco 2 Sept. 1982; Michoacán 7 July 1980; Morelos 9 Oct. 1996; Nayarit 29 Nov. 1986; Nuevo León 26 Mar. 1990; Oaxaca 9 Aug. 1980; Puebla 23 Dec. 1986; Queretaro 21 June 1985; Quintana Roo 11 July 1979; San Luis Potosí 23 Sept. 1993; Sinaloa 28 Oct. 1992; Sonora 3 Aug. 1949; State of Mexico 3 Sept. 1999; Tabasco 22 Feb. 1997; Tamaulipas 24 Oct. 1986; Tlaxcala 4 Feb. 1998; Veracruz 20 Oct. 1980; Yucatán 30 Mar. 2000; Zacatecas 17 May 1986).

However, in correspondance with the Research Directorate, a specialist on Mexican law who is a professor of law at the University of San Diego indicated that the Federal Criminal Code punishes and "defines 'threats' as any injurious act (mal) inflicted upon another person (or his/her relatives or other people closely related [to] that person such as a spouse, concubine, etc.) affecting his/her body, or assets, honour or rights" (Professor 17 Dec. 2009; Mexico 14 Aug. 1931, Art. 282). Article 282 of the Federal Criminal Code states that "threats" will be punished [translation] "by a term of imprisonment of 3 days to 1 year or a fine of 180 to 360 days" (ibid.). According to Article 29, a day-fine is based on [translation] "the daily disposable income" of the offender (ibid., Art. 29).

Under the criminal code of 23 Mexican States, it is an offence to convey a "threat" to cause bodily harm (mal/daño) to any person or any asset that belongs to this person or to his or her relatives; the punishment for "threats" varies from one state to another (Baja California Sur 15 Jan. 1991, Art. 328; Campeche 2 Jan. 1976, Art. 216; Chiapas 11 Oct. 1990, Art. 149; Chihuahua 18 Feb. 1987, Art. 232; Colima 27 July 1985, Art. 203; Durango 3 July 1991, Art. 382; Guanajuato 4 May 1978, Art. 176; Jalisco 2 Sept. 1982, Art. 188; Morelos 9 Oct. 1996, Art. 147; Nayarit 29 Nov. 1986, Art. 276; Nuevo León 26 Mar. 1990, Art. 291-292; Oaxaca 9 Aug. 1980, Art. 264; Puebla 23 Dec. 1986, Art. 290; Queretaro 21 June 1985, Art. 155; Quintana Roo 11 July 1979, Art. 123; San Luis Potosí 23 Sept. 1993, Art. 147; Sonora 3 Aug. 1949, Art. 238; Tabasco 22 Feb. 1997, Art. 161; Tamaulipas 24 Oct. 1986, Art. 305; Tlaxcala 4 Feb. 1998, Art. 238; Veracruz 20 Oct. 1980, Art. 172-173; Yucatán 30 Mar. 2000, Art. 234; Zacatecas 17 May 1986, Art 257).

Under the Criminal Code of 7 other Mexican States, it is an offence to threaten a person with damage [daño] to any of his or her assets or his or her relatives' assets; the punishment for such "threats" varies from one jurisdiction to another (Aguascalientes 1 Aug. 1949, Art. 141; Baja California 20 Aug. 1989, Art. 171; Coahuila 28 May 1999, Art. 376; Guerrero 14 Nov. 1986, Art. 134; Hidalgo 9 June 1990, Art. 172; Michoacán 7 July 1980, Art. 233; Sinaloa 28 Oct. 1992, Art 173). The Criminal Code of the State of Mexico does not criminalize "threats" (3 Sept. 1999).

Federal Criminal Code

Article 1 of the Federal Criminal Code states that this Code [translation] "is applicable throughout the Republic of Mexico concerning criminal offenses of a federal nature" (Mexico 14 Aug. 1931). According to Zamora et al., Article 50 of the Organic Law (Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial de la Federación ), as published on 12 November 1996, defines crimes that are exclusively under federal jurisdiction, as follows:

a) offences set forth in federal laws and international treaties; b) extraterritorial offenses listed in Articles 2 to 5 of the Federal Criminal Code [cases involving crimes committed outside of Mexican borders or in locations not belonging to Mexico that are intended to have effect in the Republic; crimes committed on board vessels by Mexican nationals or foreigners in Mexican consular offices, at high sea on board domestic vessels, or on board a foreign vessel anchored in a domestic port or in Mexican territorial waters], c) offences committed overseas by Mexican diplomatic agents; d) offences committed in embassies and foreign missions; e) offences of which the federal government is a victim; f) offences committed by a federal public servant or employee in the performance of his or her duties; g) offences committed against a federal public servant or employee; h) offences perpetrated in connection with or against the operation of a federal public service, regardless of whether or not said service is removed from the authority of the central government (descentralizado) or performed by a private concessionaire (concesionado); i) offences that hamper the exercise of a power granted exclusively to the federal government; and k) offences committed by or against federal electoral or party officials. (Zamora et al. 2004, 348)

Federal Criminal Code and Mexico's state criminal codes

According to Mexican Law, a book written to summerize the Mexican legal system, Mexican states have "the power to adopt a state constitution and to enact laws that do not contradict specific provisions of the Federal Constitution" (Zamora et al. 2004, 102). The same source indicates that "most state criminal codes and criminal procedure[s] in Mexico were modelled on the Federal Criminal Code and federal procedure laws" (ibid., 347). However, "each state has its own criminal code and code of criminal procedure which apply to crimes committed within the state" (ibid., 347). According to Article 116 of the Federal Constitution, "[e]ach of Mexico’s thirty-one States and the Federal District (i.e., Mexico City, which administratively operates as a 'State') have their own local courts as part of the Judicial Power of the respective State (Poder Judicial del Estado)" (Vargas Jan. 2008, 40; Mexico 5 Feb. 1917, Art. 116). In the text "Introduction to Mexico's Legal System", Jorge A. Vargas indicates that according to the Federal Constitution,

[t]he State courts administer justice within the territorial boundaries of the political entity in question under the applicable Code of Civil Procedure (Código de Procedimientos Civiles) of the corresponding State (or of the Federal District). The structure and functions of these local courts are outlined by the respective State Constitution and the corresponding State Act establishing its own judicial power. (Vargas Jan. 2008, 41)

A report published by Amnesty International (AI) provides the following general information on Mexico's division of powers:

At the federal level, the Federal Public Ministry, Ministerio Público de la Federación, is part of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic, Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), which is headed by the Attorney General, Procurador General de la República. In the 31 states and the Federal District, the Public Ministry is part of the State Public Prosecutor's Office, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE). Each is headed by the State Public Prosecutor, Procurador General de Justicia del Estado. The Attorney General and Public Prosecutors at state and federal level are members of the executive branch and are nominated or appointed directly by the President or governor. All crimes come under state jurisdiction (fuero común), unless defined as federal in legislation (25 Mar. 2003).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Aguascalientes. 1 August 1949 (amended 1 September 1994). Código Penal para el Estado de Aguascalientes. <>> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Amnesty International (AI). 25 March 2003. Mexico. Unfair trials: Unsafe Convictions. (AMR41/007/2003). < > [Accessed 29 Dec. 2009]

Baja California. 20 August 1989 (amended 3 April 2009). Código Penal para el Estado de Baja California. <>> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Baja California Sur. 15 January 1991 (amended 31 March 2008). Código Penal para el Estado de Baja California Sur. < normatividad_estatal/codigo_penal.pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Campeche. 2 January 1976 (amended 4 August 2008). Código Penal del Estado de Campeche. < pdf>> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Chiapas. 11 October 1990 (amended 22 August 2001). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Chihuahua. 18 February 1987 (amended 1 May 2004). Código Penal del Estado de Chihuahua. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Coahuila. 28 May 1999 (amended 1 August 2008). Código Penal de Coahuila. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Colima. 27 July 1985 (amended 31 August 2008). Código Penal para el Estado de Colima. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Durango. 3 July 1991 (amended 11 September 2009). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango. < pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Guanajuato. 4 May 1978 (amended 2 November 2001). Código Penal para el Estado de Guanajuato. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Guerrero. 14 November 1986 (amended 17 April 2007). Código Penal del Estado de Guerrero. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Hidalgo. 9 June 1990 (amended 26 November 2007). Código Penal para el Estado de Hidalgo. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Jalisco. 2 September 1982 (amended 2 February 1995). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Mexico. 14 August 1931 (amended 20 August 2009). Código Penal Federal. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

_____. 5 February 1917 (amended 24 August 2009). Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Michoacán. 7 July 1980 (amended 6 July 2004). Código Penal del Estado de Michoacán. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Morelos. 9 October 1996 (amended 29 June 2004). Código Penal para el Estado de Morelos. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Nayarit. 29 November 1986 (amended 27 June 2007). Código Penal para el Estado de Nayarit. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Nuevo León. 26 March 1990 (amended 28 April 2004). Código Penal para el Estado de Nuevo León. < %20PENAL%20PARA%20EL%20ESTADO%20DE%20%20NUEVO%20LEON.doc> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Oaxaca. 9 August 1980 (amended 21 November 2008). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Professor. 17 December 2009. Correspondance from a professor at the University of San Diego.

Puebla. 23 December 1986 (amended 25 January 2008). Código de Defensa Social para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla. < gos/cp21.pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Queretaro. 21 June 1985 (amended 13 July 1987). Código Penal para el Estado de Queretaro. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Quintana Roo. 11 July 1979 (amended 29 June 2001). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

San Luis Potosí. 23 September 1993 (amended 5 September 2009). Código Penal para el Estado de San Luis Potosí. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Sinaloa. 28 October 1992 (amended 2 January 2004). Código Penal para el Estado de Sinaloa. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Sonora. 3 August 1949 (amended 31 August 2009). Código Penal del Estado de Sorona. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

State of Mexico. 3 September 1999 (amended 28 December 2007). Código Penal del Estado de México. < gos/cp15.pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Tabasco. 22 February 1997. Código Penal del Estado de Tabasco. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Tamaulipas. 24 October 1986 (amended 12 September 2006). Código Penal de Tamaulipas. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Tlaxcala. 4 February 1998 (amended 25 September 2006). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Tlaxcala. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Vargas. Jorge A. January 2008. University of San Diego. "Introduction to Mexico's Legal System." Research Paper No. 08-007. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Veracruz. 20 October 1980 (amended 24 August 2005). Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave. < D08.pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Yucatán. 30 March 2000 (amended 1 October 2006). Código Penal del Estado Yucatán. < nr249rf2.pdf> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Zacatecas. 17 May 1986 (amended 15 September 2007). Código Penal para el Estado de Zacatecas. <> [Accessed 23 Dec. 2009]

Zamora, Stephen, José Ramón Cossío, Leonel Pereznieto, José Roldán-Xopa and David Lopez. 2004. Mexican Law. Oxford University Press.

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JCSA), Mexico - Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Mexico - Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional (CISEN), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Organization of American States (OAS), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM) - Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas.