“My competition began well in advance— when I was a victim of COVID-19 at its most violent point. Or even earlier, when a doctor determined I had a neurological problem at 19 that limited myself to any emotional wear and tear that might involve the contests I am so passionate about. Thus, [years later] with my teammate Veronica and our advisor María José, we were able to start what would be for me, as a student, the last of my 4 contests at ABA ROLI Mexico— the same one that ended up being the long-awaited national championship, the first for all three, for our faculty of the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH) and for all of Chiapas. Either way, this gigantic experience remains one of the most beautiful and colorly facts of my grayish life. Thank you ABA ROLI!” - Ahtziri Ofelia Arreola Quevedo, member of the winning team from UNACH
From November 2019 to June 2020, ABA ROLI Mexico hosted its 5th Annual National Mediation and Restorative Justice Competition. This year the champion team, Veronica Monserrat Roque Lopez and Ahtziri Ofelia Arreola Quevedo and their coach María José Oseguera Narváez hail from the Autonomous University of Chiapas. For this edition of the Competition, ABA ROLI Mexico integrated a restorative Justice component based upon the agreements from National Alliance for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Competencies— which expanded the number of teams accepted in the regional phases from 32 to 64. This year, we received the registration of 223 teams consisting of 446 students from 56 universities representing the following 26 Mexican states; Jalisco, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Nayarit, Mexico City, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Yucatán, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Coahuila, Baja California, Tlaxcala, Sonora, State of Mexico, Chihuahua, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Zacatecas, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Morelos, Querétaro y Durango.
Since 2013, ABA ROLI has supported Mexico’s transition from an inquisitive and written criminal system to an accusatory-adversarial system through the New Advocates for Mexican Justice program, funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. This program started with the intention of supporting the New Criminal Justice System (NCJS), which was the result of a constitutional reform in Mexico that shifted from a written-based criminal justice system towards an orality-based accusatorial system. Since the beginning of the project ABA ROLI has trained more than 6,000 law students from the 32 states of Mexico, 935 professors of law and 237 law faculties through courses-workshops on oral litigation techniques, criminal investigation, mediation and negotiation techniques, restorative justice, trainer training, and the organization of national oral litigation competences and Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (ADR).
Currently, ABA ROLI Mexico organizes the largest National Mock Trial Competition in the Western Hemisphere and is expanding the ADR National Competition to the same size— making it one of the largest of its kind (a contest specialized exclusively in ADR) in Latin America. Within the ADR competition, students simulate ADR case studies where they develop mediation and restorative justice skills to be applied later in public institutions responsible for Mexican criminal justice.
For example, former champions of the MASC National Competition have successfully positioned themselves as certified facilitators in criminal matters for Mexico’s Attorney General of the Republic— but specifically for the Centers for Criminal Alternative Justice within the Attorney General's Office. They also work for the Institutes of Alternative Justice of the Federal Criminal Justice System in Mexico. Various former champions also work as university professors and speakers on topics related to ADR . Many of the champions currently participate in the program's activities as competency evaluators and trainers of MASC courses. Notably, one former champion, Paul Herrera (pictured on left), is now the ADR Program Officer in ABA ROLI’s Mexico office. As ADR Officer, Paul designs and conducts the ADR workshops, training workshop, and the National competition.
Because of COVID-19, and its commitment to providing high quality and relevant activities to all participants, ABA ROLI Mexico adapted all of its activities to be implemented online. This meant that particularly for the ADR National Competition special training had to be given to participating teams, evaluators and volunteers on the use of digital platforms and the adaptation of ADR skills and skills to be executed and evaluated online.
This year’s champion team from the Autonomous University of Chiapas,Veronica Monserrat Roque Lopez and Ahtziri Ofelia Arreola Quevedo, expressed the following about their experience in ABA ROLI’s Mexico 5th Annual National Mediation and Restorative Justice Competition.
The winning team of the 5th Annual National Mediation and Restorative Justice Competition will travel to Mexico City for a15-day internship. In this activity, the winners will receive an intensive course of Trainer Trainer in MASC taught by ABA ROLI Mexico; they will have guided tours within the Restorative Justice Centers of the Attorney General's Office of Mexico City and will have the opportunity to give other university students a Course-Workshop in Mediation Techniques and Criminal Negotiation as part of their training exercise.
After the internship, the winners will have the opportunity to take a study tour to the United States, in order to know the operability and functionality of the MASCs applied in other Justice Systems in the Americas.
Learn more about our work in Latin America and the Caribbean.