Hermes Bohórquez: a commitment to quality education.

At 72 Cracovia street in San Angel, Mexico city there is a recently created institute dedicated to the conjunctural issues that brought with it the new criminal justice system. However, it doesn´t limit itself with only these subjects. The institute also dedicates a lot of its time to resolve issues relating criminal dogmatic and protection, followed by the daily activities of its founders and main collaborators. Hérmes Bohórquez, the director of the Institute HÈBO – whose name derives from the acronym of its ñame – tells us about the idea behind this institution.

What is the basis that originates HÈBO?

HÈBO was born in a society that originally dealt with legal matters in a private way and migrated its purpose to specialized education in criminal sciences, with the idea of creating a place for study and discussion of the major topics of Criminal Law, primarily criminal sciences and protection.

What is the mission of HÈBO?

Promote a different quality education. How can we achieve it? With a continuous education, where the student has as the main objective to study in an ethical context.

What kind of education does it offer?

We mainly focus on criminal law, postgraduate degrees, master's degrees, specific courses that address more complex themes. For example, we observe the relevant issues resolved by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, as well as the courts and the chronicle of the jurisprudence that marks the guidelines of society.

Do you also have case studies?

Yes, we do. Our professors are magistrates, many of them judges and professionals who work in the legal field, and whose main virtue is their vocation for impartiality. With our system, the student has access to an education derived from the real world: the world of knowledge. And in this world of knowledge we enter to teach the student to study. Therefore, in this institute the profile of the student can be focused on the person who, beyond pretending to obtain a document, or to pretend a training, wants to be trained and know more. Someone who has a critical and receptive spirit, and knows that a valuable knowledge should be disseminated to the benefit of the society to which it belongs. In addition, we are interested that, if a student embraces the legal vocation, he or she should be a person endowed with values, who serves the institution to which it belongs. A student who can be independent of criteria and, when the time comes, his hand won´t shake to make a fair decision.

The Institute HÈBO is it a company or is it a school?

It is a school, unquestionably, that arises with the aim of discovering the best applicants, the best teachers, but also the best students. The institute was born with the intention of attracting quality, the best teaching and the most distinguished judges, especially professors and lawyers who wish to share their knowledge and experiences with generosity.

What does HÈBO aspire to? What is its reference?

When we reflected on educational models we should emulate. We focused on those that have produced successful professionals in the world. Without forgetting that all countries have very important universities and institutes, we have discovered that Harvard has a teaching method that produces the largest number of presidents in the world; that Oxford begets many secretaries of state; that Heidelberg, in Germany, generates many Nobel prizes. In Germany there is the Max Planck Institute, which has a great worldwide reputation, and whose educational system is based, among other aspects, on research. Out of these three models, its method of case studies stands out, where the professional learns to solve judgments with highly structured tools based on the knowledge of the doctrines and the theories about the object of knowledge, to develop experiences in the professional practice based on a new paradigm of Law.

So with these models, and following the example of the Max Planck Institute, our idea was to create an institute in Mexico that, after rethinking the law, managed to restructure or redirect the educational system to produce effective and efficient criminal professionals on the resolution of specific cases. In Mexico we also have good references, such as El colegio de México, el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, el Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Penales, which are very valuable educational institutions.

Does HÉBO collaborate with other institutions?

The HÉBO Institute tries to have allies. For example, some teachers who collaborate with us also own other institutes. We want to form a great ensemble; just as it happens in big international issues, in large companies or in large economic unions, we want to assemble the best experts, regardless of whether they serve other institutes.

In this sense, we believe that teaching is everyone's responsibility. The institutions must act in clear cooperation, with a social commitment. In this regard, the HÈBO Institute and the University of Salamanca signed a collaboration agreement, so that in their headquarters of Mexico City, they teach a master's degree in criminal policy directed towards Latin American students.

Likewise, other institutions of enormous prestige have approached our institute to formalize collaboration agreements, even of an editorial nature. We are in the process of signing various agreements with institutes of great academic prestige, such as the George Washington University, to establish various programs on electoral issues, as well as with the other institutions, to organize seminars on organized crime and operations with resources of illegal origin.

With the Catholic University of Peru, we are organizing conferences on anti-corruption with the help of Latin American and Mexican judges. We take all these efforts in order to implement these courses in the HÈBO institute .We also have a clear approach with the Mexican Academy of Criminal Sciences, as well as judicial schools, both federal and local, with a firm purpose: to integrate all these institutions in a common goal.

During 2008 there was a boom in schools that focused not on generating knowledge, but on selling litigation courses, in order to take advantage of the situation that generated the process of the new judicial reform. What is your opinion about it?

I totally disagree with those institutions that profit from knowledge. Almost 10 years after the constitutional reform in the matter, we must analyze the role of those institutions to which it refers: how they have been created, how they have been developed and what they have produced.

What is the teaching profile?

We are looking for a high quality profile. When it comes to criminal law in Mexico, we know perfectly which teacher has the best pedagogical techniques: not for being the best litigant is the best teacher; and not for being the best judge is the best teacher. We know who is characterized by good pedagogical methods.

Teachers like Enrique Díaz Aranda have been present; of the quality of Carlos Daza Gómez, Verónica Román Quiroz and Rubén Quintino, who teach theory of crime, and of legal argumentation. Excellent judges have also been present in matters of protection that have also been university teachers of recognized prestige. Combine the dogma and the pragma that constitutes leadership in education. It is about finding and having the best teachers in each of the postgraduate programs.

What do you think about the production of scientific research?

Research requires many years and maybe it will be paid very little, at least economically. What do we want from legal research? Since most of our professors are also legal researchers, what we propose is that, with our support, the today student will be a leader tomorrow.

Will HÉBO have its own editorial stamp?

That is a great challenge. We have had an approach with many magazines, and even with publishing companies. We know the great complexity involved in editing a book. Developing an editorial line is obviously something we should do; not mediatately but immediately, to give opportunity for various authors, who today are referents in the legal field, to publish their work. It would be very interesting to have a scientific journal in which the legal debate can be developed for a purely legal audience.

In addition to the courses and seminars offered by the HÈBO institute will this be a place of study, consultation, and academic exchange that does not require a specific call?

Today we upload educational capsules to YouTube channels that are seen on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. We upload at least from two to three videos and one interview per week. In addition, we have scheduled 12 seminars in which from three to five teachers will participate in each one.

We also have discussion forums. The last one dealt with the anticorruption system and about how the law is applied in Mexico.

Our idea is to create one of the most important specialized libraries of criminal law in the country, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world. We also strive to find, through science, a simple language through which anyone can have access to knowledge of criminal law.

Our idea is to create one of the most important specialized libraries of criminal law in the country, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world. We also strive to find, through science, a simple language through which anyone can have access to knowledge of criminal law.

The redignification of teachers doesn´t mean only the possibility of paying what corresponds to their dedication, but also the possibility of developing them in the academic plane, and of sharing their training and experience with other countries. So, having professors who have a space for intellectual and professional development in the Institute HÈBO is very important, both for them and for us.

What are the main challenges of HÈBO?

Offer a quality education for the youth of Mexico. We want to form a different student, in a completely different field of study. We do not want our students to get stuck. We try to give them that spark in order they can continue to prepare to become leaders, judges, ministers, great lawyers or good academics.

How do you see HÈBO in 10 years?

It will be an institute that will have recognition for its educational level of excellence. We see it with many students, we see it as a large institution. We have the capacity to do so.

The Institute HÈBO has proposed to be a national and international reference in the different subjects that cover criminal sciences. A reference for criminal law as it is for criminals the Max Planck Institute, in Germany. Thus, without qualms and without false modesties, it sets its goal.

To meet this expectation, the HÈBO Institute has called the best specialists in the field. It has not focused its efforts on hiring personalities of dubious fame, without having litigated in the newly replaced system, or having lived it up close, criticize it bitterly and also offer a new system without being able to understand it.

On the other hand, the HÈBO Institute has authentic experts in criminal sciences of solid and recognized work, in addition to incorporate judges with extensive experience in the criminal field.

Finally, it has the appropriate facilities to fulfill its purpose, without the improvisation that often prevails in other institutes that, in unworthy facilities, modify bedrooms and living rooms to turn them into poorly equipped classrooms, clearly inadequate for the process of teaching-learning. Between its walls the history will remember those who have paraded through its classrooms.