Women and Justice: Court: Inter-American Court of Human Rights

International Case Law

Comunidad Indígena Xákmok Kásek v. Paraguay Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010)

Property and inheritance rights

The Indigenous Community Xákmok Kásek and its members sued Paraguay because of its inability to recover certain ancestral property. The Community claimed that this lack of access to property and possession of its territory, in addition to threatening the survival of the Community, resulted in nutritional, medical and health vulnerability to its members, causing, among other things, the death of pregnant women, children, and the elderly. The court found Paraguay in violation of Articles 3 (Right to Juridical Personality), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (personal integrity), 8.1 (Trial), 19 (Rights of the Child), 21 (Right to Property) and 25 (Judicial Protection) of the Convention, in relation to the obligations established in Articles 1.1 (Obligation to Respect Rights) and 2 (duty to adopt domestic law). The court ordered Paraguay to engage in a series of reparation measures, including returning land to the Community, damages and undertakings not to repeat such conduct and to assist the Community with rehabilitation. Among other measures ordered by the court, Paraguay must provide immediate “special care to women who are pregnant, both before birth and during the first months thereafter, and the newborn.”



Case of María Eugenia Morales de Sierra v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2001)

Gender discrimination

On February 22, 1995 petitioners, the Center for Justice and International Law and María Eugenia Morales de Sierra, brought a claim against the state of Guatemala alleging that certain articles of the Civil Code of the Republic of Guatemala contravened Articles 1(1), 2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The relevant articles of the Civil Code of the Republic of Guatemala conferred the power to represent the marital union to the husband, setting aside only exceptional instances when the wife might exercise this authority; imbued the husband with the right to administer marital property, again limiting the wife’s power to exceptional circumstances; delegated the duty to care for minor children and the home to women, permitting professional engagement outside the home only to the extent that it does not impede her primary role as a mother and homemaker; instilled in men the power to oppose their wife’s activities in court “as long as he provides for her and has justified reasons”; conferred upon men the authority to represent marital children in court and to administer their property; and prevented women from exercising certain forms of guardianship. The Guatemalan Court of Constitutionality upheld these laws using women’s protection and juridical certainty as justification. The Inter-American Court, however, held that these provisions in the Guatemalan Civil Code were not justifiable. The challenged Articles were found to violate the rights established under the American Convention and CEDAW. Articles 1(1), 2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention oblige the state to guarantee the rights enshrined in the Convention, to adopt legislative measures that protect those rights, to ensure gender equality within the institution of marriage and to ensure equal treatment before the law respectively. Articles 15 and 16 of CEDAW mandate that women have equal capacity in civil matters, especially those regarding contract and property rights, and that states take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination related to marital and family matters. The Articles in the Guatemalan Code deprived María Eugenia Morales de Sierra, and all Guatemalan women, of their rights as guaranteed in the American Convention, preventing them from advocating for their legal interests, reinforcing antiquated notions of gender roles within marriage and perpetuating systemic disadvantages that women in Guatemala face. The Court ordered Guatemala to conform its Civil Code to meet the standards enshrined in the American Convention and to compensate María Eugenia Morales de Sierra for her suffering.

El 22 de febrero de 1995, los peticionarios, el Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional y María Eugenia Morales de Sierra, presentaron una demanda contra el estado de Guatemala alegando que ciertos artículos del Código Civil de la República de Guatemala contradecían los artículos 1 (1), 2 , 17 y 24 de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos y la Convención sobre la Eliminación de Todas las Formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer (CEDAW). Los artículos relevantes del Código Civil de la República de Guatemala: le confieren a los esposos la facultad de representar a la unión marital, dejando de lado solo unos pocos casos excepcionales en los que las esposas podrian ejercer esta autoridad; le otorgan al esposo el derecho de administrar bienes conyugales, lo que en efecto limita el poder de la esposa a circunstancias excepcionales; delegan el deber de cuidar a los niños menores y el hogar a las mujeres, permitiendo el compromiso profesional fuera del hogar solo en la medida en que no impida su papel principal como madre y ama de casa; le dan a los hombres el poder de oponerse a las actividades de su esposa en la corte "siempre que él la cuide y tenga razones justificadas;" le confirien a los hombres la autoridad de representar a los hijos conyugales en los tribunales y administrar sus bienes; y le impiden a las mujeres ejercer ciertas formas de tutela. La Corte de Constitucionalidad de Guatemala confirmó estas leyes utilizando la protección de las mujeres y la seguridad jurídica como justificación. Sin embargo, la Corte Interamericana sostuvo que estas disposiciones del Código Civil de Guatemala no eran válidas. Se determinó que los Artículos impugnados violan los derechos establecidos en la Convención Americana y la CEDAW. Los artículos 1 (1), 2, 17 y 24 de la Convención Americana obligan al estado a garantizar los derechos consagrados en la Convención, a adoptar medidas legislativas que protejan esos derechos, a garantizar la igualdad de género en la institución del matrimonio, y a garantizar la igualdad de trato ante la ley. Los artículos 15 y 16 de la CEDAW exigen que las mujeres tengan la misma capacidad en materia civil, especialmente las relacionadas con los derechos contractuales y de propiedad, y que los estados tomen las medidas adecuadas para eliminar la discriminación relacionada con cuestiones maritales y familiares. Los artículos del Código de Guatemala privaron a María Eugenia Morales de Sierra (y a todas las mujeres guatemaltecas) de sus derechos garantizados en la Convención Americana, impidiéndoles defender sus intereses legales, reforzando las nociones anticuadas de los roles de género dentro del matrimonio, y perpetuando desventajas sistémicas a las que las mujeres guatemaltecas son sometidas. La Corte ordenó a Guatemala que cumpliera con su Código Civil para satisfacer los estándares establecidos en la Convención Americana y para compensar a María Eugenia Morales de Sierra por su sufrimiento.



Case of Plan de Sánchez Massacre v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2004)

Gender-based violence in general

On July 18, 1982, special forces murdered 268 people in Plan de Sanchez, Guatemala, predominantly indigenous Mayans. The massacre was part of a broader state policy to counter insurrection that targeted indigenous populations and ravaged communities. During the attack an estimated twenty girls and young women were rounded up, raped and murdered. The remainder of the detainees was killed by grenade and open fire. The representatives of the victims and their next of kin brought suit against the State of Guatemala alleging various violations of the American Convention on Human Rights including Article 1(1): the obligation to respect the rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights, Article 5: the right to humane treatment, Article 8: the right to a fair trial, Article11: the right to privacy, Article 12: the right to freedom of conscience and religion, Article 16: the right to freedom of association, Article 21: the right to property, Article 24: the right to equal protection and Article 25: the right to judicial protection. Guatemala acknowledged the international responsibility of the State and stipulated to the facts of the case before the Inter-American Court. The Court held that, in accordance with the State’s own acknowledgement, Guatemala was in breach the American Convention. With particular regard to Article 24 and 25, the Guatemalan Army abused and raped women and girls of Mayan decent during its genocidal counter-insurgence policy. These women had no recourse to the law. The Court found that the State had aggravated international responsibility for the commission of a State Crime, the commission of which was facilitated by the State’s intention, omission or tolerance during a period of grave human rights violations. The State and its agents, including the Guatemalan Army and civil collaborators, were held responsible for the tragedy that occurred at Plan de Sanchez. 

 

El 18 de julio de 1982, fuerzas especiales asesinaron a 268 personas en Plan de Sánchez, Guatemala, las cuáles eran predominantemente mujeres indígenas mayas. La masacre fue parte de una política estatal más amplia para contrarrestar la insurrección dirigida a las poblaciones indígenas y otras comunidades devastadas. Durante el ataque, aproximadamente veinte niñas y mujeres jóvenes fueron detenidas, violadas, y asesinadas. El resto de los detenidos fueron asesinados con granadas y a fuego abierto. Los representantes de las víctimas y sus familiares presentaron una demanda contra el Estado de Guatemala alegando varias violaciones de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, las cuáles incluían el artículo 1 (1): la obligación de respetar los derechos consagrados en la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, Artículo 5: el derecho a un trato humanitario, Artículo 8: el derecho a un juicio justo, Artículo 11: el derecho a la privacidad, Artículo 12: el derecho a la libertad de conciencia y de religión, Artículo 16: el derecho a la libertad de asociación, Artículo 21: el derecho a la propiedad, Artículo 24: el derecho a protección igualitaria y el Artículo 25: el derecho a la protección judicial. Guatemala reconoció la responsabilidad internacional del Estado y presentó los hechos del caso ante la Corte Interamericana. La Corte sostuvo que, de acuerdo con el propio reconocimiento del Estado, Guatemala infringió la Convención Americana. Con especial atención a los Artículos 24 y 25, el Ejército de Guatemala abusó y violó a mujeres y niñas mayas en su política de contrainsurgencia genocida. Estas mujeres no podían recurrir a la ley. La Corte determinó que el Estado agravaba la responsabilidad internacional ya que el crimen fue cometido por el Estado mismo. Dicho acto se vió facilitado por la intención, omisión o tolerancia del gobierno durante un período de graves violaciones de derechos humanos. El Estado y sus agentes, incluído el Ejército de Guatemala y colaboradores civiles fueron declarados responsables de la tragedia ocurrida en el Plan de Sánchez.



Case of the “Las dos Erres” Massacre v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2009)

Gender violence in conflict

Between December 6 and 8, 1982 a specialized group of the Guatemalan armed forces executed 251 members of the “Las Dos Erres” community. Among those killed were women and children. Women and girls, in particular, were raped and subjected to forced abortion. Soldiers beat pregnant women, at times jumping on their stomachs causing miscarriage. The case was brought before the Inter-American Court following the State’s inability or unwillingness to seek justice on behalf of the victims and their next of kin. The case against the State alleged violations of Article 1(1): the obligation to respect the rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights; Article 8: the right to a fair trial; and Article 25: the right to judicial protection and enforcement. The Court held that the investigation carried out by the Guatemalan State was insufficient and that the State has a positive obligation to diligently investigate the facts of a given case. With regard to women’s rights, the Court found that the Convention of Belém do Pará, which requires that states diligently investigate and punish acts of violence against women, applied to the present case even though the Convention was not in effect at the time of the massacre. The Court found that the act of raping women during the conflict was a state practice “directed to destroying the dignity of women at a cultural, social, family and individual level” (Case of the “Las dos Erres” Massacre ¶139). The State’s failure to investigate and punish the crimes committed was held to be a violation of the American Convention and the Convention of Belém do Pará and the Court ordered the State to provide various forms of reparation including: restitution, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition. In addition the Court ordered the State to “locate, prosecute, and punish the masterminds and perpetrators” (Case of the “Las dos Erres” Massacre ¶229), prohibited amnesty and mandated that alleged acts of torture and violence against girls and women, in particular, be investigated.

Entre el 6 y el 8 de diciembre de 1982, un grupo especializado de las fuerzas armadas guatemaltecas ejecutó a 251 miembros de la comunidad conocida como "Las Dos Erres." Entre los muertos había mujeres y niños. Las mujeres y las niñas, en particular, fueron violadas y sometidas a abortos forzados cuando los soldados golpearon a las mujeres embarazadas, a veces saltando sobre sus estómagos, causando así abortos involuntarios. El caso se presentó ante la Corte Interamericana tras la incapacidad o falta de voluntad del Estado en reclamar justicia en nombre de las víctimas y sus familiares. El caso contra el Estado alegó violaciones al artículo 1 (1): la obligación de respetar los derechos consagrados en la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos; Artículo 8: el derecho a un juicio justo; y Artículo 25: el derecho a la protección judicial y la ejecución. La Corte determinó que la investigación realizada por el gobierno guatemalteco había sido insuficiente y que el Estado tiene la obligación de investigar diligentemente los hechos de cada caso. Con respecto a los derechos de las mujeres, la Corte determinó que la Convención de Belém do Pará, que exige que los estados investiguen y castiguen con diligencia los actos de violencia contra las mujeres, se aplicaban al presente caso, aunque la Convención no estuviera vigente en el momento de la masacre. El Tribunal determinó que el acto de violar a las mujeres en épocas de conflicto era una práctica estatal "dirigida a destruir la dignidad de las mujeres a nivel cultural, social, familiar e individual" (Caso de la Masacre de "Las dos Erres", párrafo 139). El hecho de que el Estado no investigara y sancionara los delitos cometidos era una violación de la Convención Americana. La Convención de Belém do Pará y la Corte le ordenaron al Estado proporcionar diversas formas de reparación, entre ellas: restitución, rehabilitación, y garantías de no repetición. Además, la Corte le ordenó al gobierno "localizar, procesar y sancionar a los autores intelectuales y perpetradores" (Caso de la Masacre de "Las dos Erres", párrafo 229), y le prohibió la amnistía, ordenando que los presuntos actos de tortura y violencia contra niñas y mujeres fueran investigados con particularidad. 



Case of the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community v. Paraguay Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2005)

Property and inheritance rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleged that, by not respecting ancestral property rights, the Government of Paraguay threatened the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community’s access to food, water and health care, and survival in violation of Articles 4 (right to life), 8 (right to fair trial), 21 (right to property) and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights. The court noted several specific examples of dangers faced by the women of the Community, including instances in which a woman was threatened by a man wielding a shotgun and another in which a woman was sexually exploited by State workers. The court noted that Paraguay was obligated to take into account the economic and social characteristics, special vulnerability, and customary laws, values and customs of indigenous peoples in order to effectively protect them, and found that Paraguay’s delay in recognizing the Community’s leadership, legal status and claims to land violated the Community’s rights to judicial protection, a fair trial, property, and ultimately a decent life. The court also found that the Community had a right to be granted legal status in order to take advantage of its members’ full rights as a people, and that Paraguay’s ongoing refusal to recognize that status was a violation of this right. As such, the court ordered that Paraguay provide the Community – “especially children, the elderly and pregnant women” -- with reparations, including compensation, food and water, sanitation, access to health care, and rightful title to their traditional territory.



Rosendo Cantu v. Mexico Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010)

Sexual violence and rape

Rosendo Cantu was walking home when she was stopped and questioned by a group of soldiers. When she did not give the soldiers the answers they were looking for, two of the soldiers raped her while six others watched. Subsequent to the rape, the State failed to carry out an effective investigation into the allegations of sexual violence by members of the armed forces. The Inter-American Court held that Mexico had committed an act of turtler. It placed special importance on the vulnerable situation of Ms. Cantu given the fact that she was a minor and also a member of the indigenous community. It found Mexico in violation of the right to personal integrity, dignity, privacy, the rights of the child and due process rights. It also found that the State had failed to comply with its due diligence obligations to prevent, investigate and punish violence against women and the general obligation of non-discrimination in accessing justice. The Court ordered Mexico to pay monetary compensation for the harms suffered and to also ensure that Ms. Cantu's daughter received a scholarship to study.

Rosendo Cantu caminaba hacia su casa cuando fue detenida e interrogada por un grupo de soldados. Cuando no les dio a los soldados las respuestas que buscaban, dos de los soldados la violaron mientras que otros seis observaron. Luego de la violación, el Estado no realizó una investigación efectiva de las denuncias de violencia sexual cometida por miembros de las fuerzas armadas. La Corte Interamericana sostuvo que México había cometido un acto de turtler. La corte puso especial importancia en la situación de vulnerabilidad de la Sra. Cantu, dado que era menor de edad y también miembro de la comunidad indígena. Encontró a México en violación del derecho a la integridad personal, la dignidad, la privacidad, los derechos del niño y los derechos del debido proceso. También encontró que el Estado no había cumplido con sus obligaciones de diligencia debida para prevenir, investigar y sancionar la violencia contra las mujeres y la obligación general de no discriminación en el acceso a la justicia. El Tribunal ordenó a México que pagara una compensación monetaria por los daños sufridos y también para garantizar que la hija de la Sra. Cantu recibiera una beca para estudiar.



Atala Riffo and Daughters v. Chile Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010)

Gender discrimination

Karen Atala Riffo, a judge in Chile, and her husband separated in 2002 and agreed that she would retain custody of their three daughters. After a few years, Ms. Atala began to live with her female partner. In response, her husband filed for custody claiming that the mother’s homosexuality was detrimental to the children. The lower court confirmed the grant of custody to the mother, finding that there was no evidence that homosexuality was pathological conduct that would make Ms. Atala unfit as a mother. On appeal, however, the Supreme Court of Chile granted custody to the father, on the basis that the mother’s sexuality would cause irreversible harm to the children’s development. Ms. Atala took the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (“IACHR”), marking the first time that the IACHR heard a case related to LGBT rights. The IACHR held that sexual orientation is a suspect class and that the Chilean courts had discriminated against Atala in the custody case in violation of the American Convention’s right to equality and non-discrimination. In 2012, the court ordered Chile to pay Atala USD $50,000 in damages and $12,000 in court costs. The Chilean government agreed to abide by the IACHR’s ruling.



Lori Berenson-Mejía v. Peru Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2004)

Custodial violence, Gender-based violence in general

The IACHR submitted an application to the Court to determine whether Peru violated Articles 1(1), 5, 8 and 9 of the American Convention on Human Rights to the detriment of Berenson-Mejia in relation to proceedings that took place against her before both military and civil courts, as well as to the inhumane conditions of detention to which she was subjected. The Court held that Peru violated Berenson-Mejia's right to humane treatment (Articles 5(1), 5(2) and 5(6) of the American Convention on Human Rights) due to the conditions she faced while incarcerated, violated Articles 1(1), 2, 8(1), 8(2), 8(2)(b)-(d), (f), and (h), 8(5) in relation to her military trial, but not to her civil trial. The Court ordered Peru to provide Berenson-Mejia with adequate medical care, to discharge the reparation established against her in favor of the State in her civil trial, to improve the conditions at the prison in which she was detained to meet international standards, and to pay costs and expenses.



María Elena Loayza-Tamayo v. Peru Inter-American Court of Human Rights (1997)

Custodial violence, Sexual violence and rape

Loayza-Tamayo was detained by the National Counter-Terrorism Bureau ("DINCOTE"). While detained, she was threatened with torture and was repeatedly raped in an effort to force her to confess to belonging to the Peruvian Communist Party ("Shining Path").  She was charged and found guilty of treason and was held in solitary confinement. She filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, alleging numerous human rights violations and requesting her release. The Commission, unable to reach a decision, submitted the case to the Inter-American Court. The Court held that Peru violated Articles 5, 7, 8(1), 8(2) and 8(4) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in relation to Articles 25 and 1(1) thereof. The Court ordered that Loayza-Tamayo be released, and that she and her next of kin be compensated for any relevant expenses.



Miguel Castro-Castro Prison v. Peru Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2006)

Custodial violence, Sexual violence and rape

Approximately 135 female prison inmates (along with about 450 male inmates) were subjected to violent attacks by guards and other state agents over the course of three days at the Castro-Castro maximum security prison. Some female inmates were humiliated, stripped-down and subjected to further physical and psychological abuse. Many inmates were held in solitary confinement, were denied medical care, and were kept from communicating with their families or their attorneys. The Court found Peru to have violated Articles 4, 5(1), 5(2), 8(1) and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, Articles 1, 6 and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and Article 7(b) of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women.  The Court ordered Peru to investigate and punish those responsible for these violations, to return the bodies of any inmates killed to their next of kin, to publicly acknowledge and apologize for these violations, to provide at no cost medical and psychological treatment to the victimized inmates and next of kin, and to pay reparations to the victims or their next of kin.



Perozo et al. v. Venezuela Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2009)

Custodial violence, International law, Sexual harassment

This case was brought against Venezuela under allegations of harassment and physical and verbal assault toward journalists, including some female journalists, by state actors over a period of four years. While the Court found Venezuela to be in violation of the right to speak freely, to receive and impart information, and to humane treatment (violations of Articles 1(1), 5(1) and 13(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights), the Court also found there was insufficient evidence to establish violations of Articles 13(3), 21 and 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights.  The Court further noted that it would not analyze the alleged actions under Articles 1, 2 and 7(b) of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.



Velasquez-Rodriguez Case Inter-American Court of Human Rights (1988)

Gender-based violence in general

States are responsible for private acts of violence (duty to investigate, prosecute and punish).



Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous Community v. Paraguay Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2006)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Gender discrimination, International law, Property and inheritance rights

This case involved issues involving the exposure of vulnerable members of indigenous communities, particularly children, pregnant women, and the elderly. A petition was filed against Paraguay on behalf of the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous Community, alleging violations of, among other things, the right to fair trial and judicial protection, the right to property and the right to life. The petition noted that these violations placed children, pregnant women and the elderly in particularly vulnerable situations. The Court found Paraguay to be in violation of Articles 1(1), 2, 3, 4(1), 8, 19, 21 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court ordered Paraguay to formally and physically convey to the Sawhoyamaxa their traditional lands, to establish a community development fund, to pay non-pecuniary damages, to provide the Sawhoyamaxa with basic necessities until their lands were restored, to provide the Sawhoyamaxa with the necessary tools for communication to access health authorities, and to domestically enact legislation creating a mechanism for indigenous communities to reclaim their traditional lands.



Cantoral-Huamaní and García-Santa Cruz v. Peru Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2007)

Gender-based violence in general

The IACHR lodged an application against Peru for the violation, among other things, of the right to free association. Garcia-Santa Cruz was founder of a women's organization in a mining community, and provided support to the families of miners during a mining strike. Garcia-Santa Cruz was executed, and the Court held that her execution was an attempt to intimidate miners into not unionizing. The Court held this type of intimidation to be a violation of the freedom of association (Article 16 of the American Convention). The Court also found Peru to have violated Articles 1(1), 4, 5, 7, 8(1) and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court ordered Peru to investigate and punish those who carried out these violations, to publicly acknowledge international responsibility for these violations, to provide psychological services to the victims' next of kin, and to pay pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and costs.



De La Cruz-Flores v. Peru Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2004)

Gender-based violence in general

De La Cruz-Flores was detained, charged and convicted by a "faceless judge" for the crime of terrorism. In 2003, laws were passed ordering the annulment of judgments made by secret judges and practitioners. De La Cruz-Flores, however, remained in captivity, captivity she argued was arbitrary. The Court held that Peru violated De La Cruz-Flores's rights under Articles 1(1), 5, 7 and 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court ordered Peru to reinstate De La Cruz-Flores in her previous employment, grant her any previous retirement benefits, pay her costs, pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, grant her medical and psychological treatment and provide her with a grant for professional development.



Proposed Amendments to the Naturalization Provisions of the Constitution of Costa Rica Inter-American Court of Human Rights (1984)

Gender discrimination

Challenge to gender-based nationality law.

Desafío a la ley de nacionalidad que se basa en género sexual. 



Girls Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2005)

Gender discrimination

The IACHR submitted an application to the Court to determine whether the Dominican Republic had violated Articles 1(1), 2, 3, 8, 19, 20, 24 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights to the detriment of Dilcia Oliven Yean and Violeta Bosico Cofi. The application was based on the fact that the two girls had been denied Dominican birth certificates despite having been born within Dominican territory, leaving the girls stateless and without nationality. This also caused one of them, Violeta, to not be admitted to school since you must present a birth certificate to attend school in the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic eventually granted the girls their birth certificates and then argued that by doing so, the girls' cause of action before the commission was null. The girls, however, argued that receiving their birth certificates did not remedy the fact that they had been stateless for four years. The Court found the Dominican Republic violated Articles 1(1), 3, 5, 18, 19, 20, and 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights and ordered the Dominican Republic to issue a public apology to the girls and to pass legislation consistent with Article 2 of the American Convention which would make it simple to acquire citizenship upon late declaration of birth. 

 

La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos presentó una solicitud a la Corte para determinar si la República Dominicana había violado los artículos 1 (1), 2, 3, 8, 19, 20, 24 y 25 de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos con respecto a Dilcia Oliven Yean y Violeta Bosico Cofi. La solicitud se basó en el hecho de que a las dos niñas se les habían negado los certificados de nacimiento dominicanos a pesar de haber nacido en el territorio nacional, lo cuál las dejó sin patria y sin nacionalidad legal. Esto también causó que una de ellas, Violeta, no fuera admitida en la escuela, ya que es requerimiento para asistir una escuela del país el presentar un certificado de nacimiento. La República Dominicana finalmente le otorgó a las niñas dichos certificados y luego argumentó que como ya estaba hecho, la causa de acción de las niñas ante la comisión era nula. Las niñas, sin embargo, argumentaron que recibir sus certificados de nacimiento no remedió el hecho de que habían sido despatriadas durante cuatro años. La Corte determinó que la República Dominicana en efecto violó los artículos 1 (1), 3, 5, 18, 19, 20 y 24 de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos y le ordenó a la República Dominicana emitir una disculpa pública a las niñas y aprobar leyes consistentes con el artículo 2 de la Convención Americana, lo cual facilitaría la adquisición de la ciudadanía en el momento de la declaración tardía de nacimiento.



“White Van" (Paniagua-Morales et al.) v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (1998)

Acid violence

The IACHR submitted this case to the Court to determine whether Guatemala had violated the American Convention on Human Rights by "acts of abduction, arbitrary detention, inhuman treatment, torture and murder committed by agents of the State, of Guatemala against eleven victims," some of them women. The Court held that Guatemala violated Articles 1(1), 4(1), 5(1), 5(2), 8(1) and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, as well as Articles 1, 6 and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. The Court ordered Guatemala to investigate and punish those responsible for the violations, and to pay reparations to the victims and their next of kin.

La Comisión Internacional de Derechos Humanos presentó este caso a la Corte para determinar si Guatemala había violado la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos por "actos de secuestro, detención arbitraria, trato inhumano, tortura y asesinato cometidos por agentes del Estado de Guatemala contra once víctimas", algunos de ellas mujeres. La Corte sostuvo que Guatemala en efecto violó los artículos 1 (1), 4 (1), 5 (1), 5 (2), 8 (1) y 25 de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, así como los artículos 1, 6 y 8. de la Convención Interamericana para Prevenir y Sancionar la Tortura. La Corte le ordenó a Guatemala investigar y sancionar a los responsables de las violaciones, y pagar compensación a las víctimas y sus familiares.



Molina-Theissen v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2004)

Sexual violence and rape

This case was submitted to the Court by the IACtHR to determine if human rights violations were committed by Guatemala in relation to the forced disappearance of 14-year old Marco Antonio Molina Thiessen by the Guatemalan army. The Molina Thiessen family was comprised of left-leaning academics and was therefore considered a threat to the military regime in place at the time of the forced disappearance. Prior to child's disappearance, his sister, Emma Guadalupe, was detained and illegally incarcerated, during which time she was repeatedly raped and physically and psychologically tortured. She managed to escape and Marco Antonio's abduction was seen as retaliation against the family for Emma Guadalupe's escape. After the forced disappearance, the Molina Thiessen family never again saw Marco Antonio and was forced to seek political asylum in a number of other countries. Guatemala acknowledged its international responsibility for these incidents. The Court found Guatemala to have violated numerous articles of the American Convention on Human Rights to the detriment of Marco Antonio, and "Articles, 5(1) and 5(2) (Right to Humane Treatment); 8 (Right to a Fair Trial); 17 (Rights of the Family), and 25 (Judicial Protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, and that it failed to comply with the obligations established in Articles 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights) and 2 (Domestic Legal Effects) thereof, to the detriment of the next of kin of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen," including his sister, Emma Guadalupe.

Este caso fue presentado a la Corte por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos para determinar si Guatemala cometió violaciones de los derechos humanos en relación con la desaparición del ejército guatemalteco de Marco Antonio Molina Thiessen, de 14 años. La familia Molina Thiessen estaba compuesta por académicos de izquierda politicamente y, por lo tanto, se consideraba una amenaza para el régimen militar vigente en el momento de la desaparición. Antes de la desaparición del niño, su hermana, Emma Guadalupe, fue detenida y encarcelada ilegalmente, tiempo durante el cual fue violada repetidamente y torturada física y psicológicamente. Ella logró escapar y el secuestro de Marco Antonio fue visto como una represalia contra la familia por su escape. Después de la desaparición de Marco Antonio, la familia Molina Thiessen nunca más volvió a verlo y se vio obligada a buscar asilo político en otros países. Guatemala reconoció su responsabilidad internacional por estos incidentes. La Corte determinó que Guatemala había violado numerosos artículos de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos en detrimento de Marco Antonio, y "Artículos, 5 (1) y 5 (2) (Derecho a un trato humano); 8 (Derecho a un juicio justo 17; (Derechos de la familia), y 25 (Protección judicial) de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, y que no cumplió con las obligaciones establecidas en los Artículos 1 (1) (Obligación de respetar los derechos) y 2 (Derechos nacionales). Efectos legales), en el detrimento de los familiares de Marco Antonio Molina Theissen," incluída su hermana, Emma Guadalupe.



Plan de Sánchez Massacre v. Guatemala Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2004)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The IACHR submitted this case to the Court, alleging violations by Guatemala of the rights to humane treatment, to judicial protection, to fair trial, to equal treatment, to freedom of conscience and of religion, and to private property, in combination with the obligation to respect rights. These allegations arose from a massacre carried out by the Guatemalan army against a primarily Mayan community. During the massacre, approximately 20 girls ages 12 to 20 were mistreated, raped and murdered. Guatemala acknowledged its international responsibility for the massacre and withdrew any objections to the allegations. The Court found that Guatemala "breached the rights set forth in Articles 5(1) and 5(2) (Right to Humane Treatment); 8(1) (Right to Fair Trial); 11 (Right to Privacy); 12(2) and 12(3) (Freedom of Conscience and Religion); 13(2) paragraph a and 13(5) (Freedom of Thought and Expression), 16(1) (Freedom of Association), 21(1) and 21(2) (Right to Property), 24 (Right to Equal Protection) and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights; and that it did not fulfill the obligation to respect rights set forth in Article 1(1) of that Convention, as set forth in paragraphs 47 and 48 of the instant Judgment." 

La Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos presentó este caso a la Corte, alegando violaciones por parte de Guatemala de los derechos humanos, con respecto a la protección judicial, a un juicio justo, a un trato igualitario, a la libertad de conciencia y de religión, y a la propiedad privada, en combinación con la obligación de respetar dichos derechos. Estas acusaciones surgieron a partir de una masacre llevada a cabo por el ejército guatemalteco contra una comunidad principalmente maya. Durante la masacre, aproximadamente 20 niñas de 12 a 20 años fueron maltratadas, violadas y asesinadas. Guatemala reconoció su responsabilidad internacional por la masacre y retiró cualquier objeción a las acusaciones. El Tribunal determinó que el país "violó los derechos establecidos en los artículos 5 (1) y 5 (2) (Derecho a un trato humano); 8 (1) (Derecho a un juicio justo); 11 (Derecho a la privacidad); 12 (2) ) y 12 (3) (Libertad de conciencia y religión); 13 (2) párrafos a y 13 (5) (Libertad de pensamiento y expresión), 16 (1) (Libertad de asociación), 21 (1) y 21 ( 2) (Derecho a la propiedad), 24 (Derecho a la igualdad de protección) y 25 (Derecho a la protección judicial) de la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, y que no cumplió con la obligación de respetar los derechos establecidos en el artículo 1 (1) de esa Convención, tal como se establece en los párrafos 47 y 48 de la presente Sentencia. "