January 6th, 2012 | University

Zedillo GRD ’81 claims immunity in lawsuit

Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo GRD '81.
Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo GRD '81. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Former Mexican president and current Yale professor Ernesto Zedillo GRD ’81 claimed in court documents filed Friday that his status as a former head of state gives him immunity from a lawsuit filed in Connecticut District Court over the 1997 massacre of 45 Mexican villagers.

“The plaintiffs’ lawsuit against President Zedillo amounts to no more than a misguided effort to impugn the reputation of someone widely regarded by international leaders and scholars as the architect of historic reforms that led Mexico into a new dawn of electoral freedom, respect for human rights, and a flourishing economy,” the motion said.

Zedillo’s lawyers told the Associated Press they have no knowledge of the U.S. ever denying a former national leader’s claim for immunity from a lawsuit involving official acts. Stanford Law professor Jenny Martinez ’93, who specializes in international courts and tribunals, said in September 2011 that Zedillo might successfully claim immunity because the laws applying to former heads of state are complex.

State Department officials will issue an opinion on whether they believe Zedillo has immunity from the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. The plaintiffs will likely follow by filing documents opposing Zedillo’s motion to dismiss the case.

Zedillo was president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000. At Yale, he directs the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

  • WowSeriously

    Wow.
    I knew he was a pompous clown in person,
    but I had no idea he was also a coward.

    I understand that lawsuits are draining financially and personally, but this is a suit over human rights violations. That’s not something you dismiss as slander or claim immunity to get out of. If the claims are truly as frivolous as you state, you proceed and let the facts vindicate your position. It’s annoying and extremely time-consuming, but it’s your responsibility as a former public servant to answer claims against your term.

    Does this man have no pride?

  • bschiava

    I want the Yale community to evaluate the evidence. My bibliography is in my article. Somebody has to care that justice be done, and that Dr. Zedillo face at least the civil law suit, and that he as well as the plaintiffs have a fair trial. One question is how, when Yale has many sociology, history, anthropology professors, people who speak Spanish, never questioned his presidency and the state of terror that the indigenous communities lived in the Mexican Republic with paramilitary forces during the Zedillo administration. How was that possible?
    Here is my article: http://www.examiner.com/article/diplomatic-immunity-for-mexican-ex-president-ernesto-zedillo