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Mexico has detailed counterterrorism provisions in its federal criminal code covering both domestic and international terrorism. There is no carve-out for the exercise of fundamental human rights.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Mexico defines (domestic) terrorism in its Federal Criminal Code as anyone:

using toxic substances, chemical, biological or similar weapons, radioactive material, nuclear material, nuclear fuel, radioactive mineral, radiation source or instruments that emit radiation, explosives, or firearms, or by fire, flood or any other violent means, [who] intentionally carry out acts against goods or services, whether public or private, or against the physical or emotional integrity or the life of people, which produces alarm, fear or terror in the population or in a group or sector of it, threatens national security, or puts pressure on the authority or an individual or forces them to take a particular decision.Art. 139(I), Federal Criminal Code of Mexico.

Mexico has a further definition that is specific to "international terrorism" when these same acts are perpetrated

against property, persons or services, of a foreign State, or of any international body or organization, which produce alarm, fear or terror in the population or in a group or sector of it, in order to put pressure on the authority of that foreign State or to oblige it or an international organization to take a particular decision.Art. 148, Federal Criminal Code of Mexico.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Mexico is a State Party to the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party


Mexico is also a State Party to the main regional treaty on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
2002 Inter-American Convention against Terrorism State Party

In adhering to the 2002 Convention, Mexico made the following interpretive declaration:

Without detriment to Mexico's determination to combat all terrorist acts, methods, and practices, it is my Government's interpretation that the right to asylum is part of international human rights law as referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 15 of this Convention, since both Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man embody the right of every person to seek and receive asylum in foreign territory. 

Accordingly, any request for cooperation made pursuant to this Convention will be decided on by my Government in accordance with the Convention, Mexico's domestic laws, and other applicable international instruments.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The penalty for the perpetration of a terrorist offence is between fifteen and forty years in prison.Art. 139(I), Federal Criminal Code of Mexico.The penalty is increased by one half, when in addition to the offence:

I. The crime is committed against a property of public access;

II. Damage or harm to the national economy is generated, or

III. In the commission of the crime, a person is detained as a hostage.Art. 139(II), Federal Criminal Code of Mexico.

The ordinary penalty is the same when the crimes concern international terrorism.Art. 148, Federal Criminal Code of Mexico. 

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Mexico has a significant counterterrorism capacity in its federal police force, which is also used to confront the many drug cartels operating in parts of the country.


Código Penal Federal de Mexico

El terrorismo como metodo del crimen organizado en Mexico

Reglamento de la Ley de la Policia Federal