Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at MacArthur Foundation describes contextual analysis, a process used to reverse systemic corruption among state officials in Mexico.

• Contextual analysis is one sport of hope for legal action against human rights violations. How can the private sector engage with the public for more innovations of this type?

• Read about strategies like contextual analysis aimed at rejecting corruption in Mexico.

When lawyers for relatives of a young man detained by Mexico City Police started examining the case, the attorneys received law enforcement reports focused on a lead about a robbery.

The broader context of what authorities may have been doing—routinely stopping young people to extort money—was nowhere to be found in the police’s work.

Instead, attorneys for 17-year-old Marco Antonio Sanchez pieced together a scenario that shed unfavorable light on the investigation: public security camera footage was not collected. Police cameras had been turned off strategically. And, relevant witnesses, including other police officers, had not been interrogated separately.

Recent justice reform in Mexico is taking on that challenge by introducing a technique called “contextual analysis,” which is particularly relevant for crimes committed by state actors.

The idea is straightforward: the best way to analyze crimes that state actors may be complicit in is to frame individual crimes in the broader context of how they occurred. By looking at the role state structures and institutions played, a clearer picture of impunity for those committing crimes may emerge.

The push for contextual analysis came at a timely moment. The United Nations’ Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) reports that Mexico successfully prosecutes less than five percent of homicides and less than two percent of forced disappearances.

The biggest reason for these low numbers starts with how investigations are conducted. While many probes of serious crimes are never undertaken, organizations researching the problem say investigations that are done often overlook key evidence, fail to maintain crime scenes, and allow long, unexplained time gaps before witnesses are contacted.

Read the full article about contextual analysis at MacArthur Foundation.