Bolivian president Carlos Mesa is currently in the midst of the most acute crisis since he assumed the presidency in October of 2003. In his inaugural speech Mesa promised full investigations and sanctions for those responsible for atrocities during the 2003 conflicts, lack of progress on this front has provoked criticism from national and international human rights monitors. This criticism escalated this past February after a military court quickly acquitted four soldiers alleged to have shot at unarmed civilians during public protests in February 2003 in La Paz, despite evidence against the accused. The protests were in response to tax mandates outlined by former president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who resigned under pressure last October after several months of intermittent but increasingly violent political conflicts. The case, initially filed in the civilian justice system, was inappropriately transferred to a military tribunal despite objections by the public prosecutors assigned to the case and the families of the victims. Military trial for human rights cases are closed proceedings that to date have always resulted in a rapid acquittal. Furthermore, they violate the dictates of Bolivia law and international agreements signed by Bolivia.