Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional on Tuesday the transfer of control over the civilian-led National Guard to the Army, a step which had drawn criticism from activists concerned about the increasing militarization of public security.
The court’s decision is a blow to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who had backed a congressional reform to put the Army in charge, which passed last year.
The reform gave the Army operational, financial and administrative control of the National Guard, which had previously been under the security ministry.
Tuesday’s ruling passed with eight justices voting in favor and three against.
After taking power in late 2018, Lopez Obrador created the National Guard to replace the Federal Police, which he accused of being corrupt and ineffective.
At the time, the National Guard was put under civilian control in a bid to assuage concerns over the military’s growing influence over public security.
But Lopez Obrador later said he had changed his mind about using the armed forces in domestic law enforcement.
During his term, the military has become increasingly influential, delivering major infrastructure projects and put in charge of monitoring ports and airports.
Members of the National Guard are suspected of killing two civilians on Sunday in the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo, including a pregnant teenager, an official said.