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José Ma. Serna de la Garza

The traditional three-branch understanding of Mexican constitution law increasingly contrasts with the emergence of a number of “autonomous constitutional agencies” that have been created in the last couple of decades to perform relevant state functions. This chapter focuses on one of the most important new agencies created in Mexico: the National Commission on Human Rights. It seeks to explain the Commission’s legal status as well as its interactions with Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ). Moreover, in this chapter the author argues that in spite of the fact that the Supreme Court plays some balancing role, the national ombudsman (as is also the case with the other “autonomous constitutional agencies”) is mostly unchecked concerning its actions and omissions. The chapter suggests that Mexican constitutionalism has not yet figured out how to construct a proper balance between independence and accountability in order for these institutions to achieve their full potential.