Women and Justice: Court: Supreme Court

Domestic Case Law

Processo nº 35/2011 Supreme Court (2011)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Property and inheritance rights

In a proceeding following a divorce, the appellant wife argued that she had married her husband under a regime of separate property. The court determined that a couple married under such a regime can only switch to a community property regime upon agreement between the parties, which had not occurred in this case.

Case of Sebastian Ramirez Ledesma Supreme Court (1999)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Sebastian Ramirez Ledesma was found guilty of murdering his father by the lower court.  The lower court sentence was confirmed by the Court of Appeals.  However, in 1997, the Supreme Court overturned the sentence and absolved the accused of all charges because he acted in self-defense.  On the day the events took place, Joaquin Ramirez, father of the accused was drunk and threatening to kill his wife, Francisca Ledesma de Ramirez.  Joaquin Ramirez regularly hit his wife.  In light of these circumstances, the accused intervened trying to defend his mother, which enraged his father.  Joaquin Ramirez took out a gun and fired three shots at the accused, missing him.  Then, Joaquin Ramirez continued the aggression against his wife.  Subsequently, the accused was able to grab the gun from his father.  When Joaquin Ramirez realized that his son took the gun, he took out a knife.  At this point, the accused fired the gun at his father, killing him.  The Supreme Court overturned the sentence because it found that the accused was acting in self-defense and also was trying to protect his mother. 

Case of Joao María Dos Santos Supreme Court (1997)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

S.J.D.S and M.J.D.S (16 and 13 years old) were sexually abused by their father, Joao María Dos Santos on several occasions.  The victims testified that they were forced to have sexual relations with their father.  The accused admitted that he raped them.  The accused was sentenced to 16 years in prison.  His sentenced was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1997.

Case of Francisco Ramírez Irala Supreme Court (2011)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

In 2008, Francisco Ramírez Irala was found guilty of domestic violence against his wife.  The Justice of the Peace ordered the accused to refrain from living at their home or being within 300 meters of his house or any other place that represented a risk for the victim for a period of 60 days.  The accused appealed, and the sentence was confirmed.  Subsequently, the accused filed a request before the Supreme Court alleging that the sentence caused him great harm because he is a colonel in the military with an impeccable career and being evaluated for a promotion.  The Supreme Court rejected his motion.

Case of Emilio Garay Franco Supreme Court (1996)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general

Emilio Garay Franco was accused of murdering his mother, María Roque Franco González, in her home on August 3, 1983 at around 11:00 pm.  The weapon used to commit the crime was a knife.  The accused was sentenced to 30 years in prison.  The accused appealed the sentence, but the action was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The Court confirmed the sentence, noting “no hay delito más horrendo” ("there is no more horrendous crime”) than patricide.

Emilio Garay Franco fue acusado de asesinar a su madre, María Roque Franco González en su case el 3 de Agosto del 1983 alrededor de las 11 de la noche. El arma usada para cometer el crimen fue un cuchillo. El acusado fue sentenciado a 30 años de cárcel. Él apeló la sentencia pero la acción fue rechazada por la Corte Suprema, la cúal afirmó la sentencia y agregó que, “no hay delito más horrendo” que el parricidio.   

Case of Gilberto Arrúa González (No. 573) Supreme Court (2001)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general

Gilberto Arrúa González was accused of murdering his mother, Lidia Blanca González in her home on April 3, 1993 at around 7:00 pm.  The weapon used to commit the crime was a 21 cm long knife.  The police questioned Jorge Arrúa Godoy who testified that on that day his wife, the victim, and he returned to their home to find the accused, their son, drinking wine and listening to music on the patio of the house.  At one point, the defendant hit the radio with his hand, so his mother rebuked him, asking him to stop.  The defendant ignored her, and his mother grabbed him by his shirt and shook him.  In turn, the defendant’s father grabbed the victim by the arm, asking her to release his son.  When they released him, the defendant said “I will kill you all,” then ran into the kitchen where he grabbed the knife and tried to stab his father.  However, his mother stepped between them and the defendant fatally stabbed her.  The defendant was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  The accused appealed the sentenced but the Supreme Court confirmed the 25 year-prison sentence.

Case of W.F.C.M. and L.M.S.V., No. 556 Supreme Court (2005)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

L.M.S.V. and W.F.C.M were accused of sexual coercion against the victim L.del R.A., an 18 year old woman, who was sexually coerced by the two accused males with a knife.  The accused, who were minors, were sentenced to 3 years in prison.  L.M.S.V appealed and the Court of Appeals confirmed the lower court sentence.  Finally, L.M.S.V challenged the decision before the Supreme Court which partially overturned the decision.  The Supreme Court found that because L.M.S.V. was a minor at the time of the crime and, in order to hold minors criminally responsible, minors must have sufficient psycho-social maturity (“madurez sico-social”) to understand the criminality of their actions, the sentence should be reduced to two years in prison.  The court also ordered that during the probation period, L.M.S.V. must live no less than 10 kilometers away from the victim.

Case of Guido Arturo Villalba and Other Supreme Court (2016)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Clorinda Mora Romero was sentenced to jail for seven years and six months because the lower court of Asunción found that she was guilty  with her co-defendant Guido Arturo Villalba of human trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation.  She appealed the sentence, and the Court of Appeals rejected her motion, confirming the lower court sentence.  Finally, she challenged the decision before the Supreme Court, which dismissed the action in 2016.

Case of Clarisa Velázquez de Acosta Supreme Court (1995)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Quijote, S.R.L., (the “Company”) fired the plaintiff while she was pregnant.  The Labor Appeals Court (the “Court”) found that the firing was illegal because the law seeks to protect pregnant women, and though the medical certificate is a guarantee for the employer, it is not a requirement.  The Court ordered the company to reinstate the plaintiff to her position and pay her lost wages.  The Company challenged the court order in 1993, but the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge as an unconstitutional action in 1995.  Consequently, the Labor Appeals Court ruling remained in effect.

Case of Juan Alveiro Gómez Supreme Court (1997)

Sexual violence and rape

In 1994, a married woman was sexually abused and raped by Juan Aveiro Gómez in her home.  Law 104 (dated December 17, 1990) modified Paraguay’s penal code to punish the rape of a married woman with prison.  The Criminal Appeals Court sentenced the defendant to 12 years in prison.  However, the Supreme Court reduced the sentence to eight years in prison on February 20, 1997.

Nxumalo v. Ndlovu Supreme Court (2011)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

The executor of the estate of a deceased man (the appellant) brought an application to the High Court for a declaration that the civil marriage to the respondent was bigamous and invalid because of a number of pre-existing customary marriages between the deceased and three other women. The deceased considered the marriages over when the women left him and never returned. The deceased had executed a will and later four codicils. The High Court found that the respondent’s civil law marriage was a lawful marriage in community of property, and the will was declared null and void. The appeal is of the order of the High Court. The Supreme Court heard testimony from one of the wives married to the deceased under customary law and from experts in Swazi law and custom relating to the dissolution of customary marriages. The Supreme Court found in favour of the appellant. The decision of the High Court was set aside and the Master of the High Court was to appoint a suitable and proper person to administer the deceased estate. This case is important as it illustrates the importance and status of Swazi law.

Dlamini v. The Quadro Trust & 8 Others Supreme Court (2016)

Gender discrimination, Property and inheritance rights

The appellant sought to set aside a lower court’s decision and remove his deceased paternal grandmother’s estate executors. The lower court found that the appellant had no locus standi to bring forth the application as he was not the lawful beneficiary of his grandmother’s estate—he was born out of wedlock and his father predeceased his now deceased paternal grandmother. Therefore, the appellant had no right of inheritance intestate. The Supreme Court found that Section 31 of the Constitution (the abolition of the common law status of illegitimacy of a person born out of wedlock) abolishes the principle that children cannot inherit from their father. The Court upheld the appeal and found that the applicant had locus standi to institute or defend legal proceedings relating the deceased estate.

J.E.R.A. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2009)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant in this case sexually assaulted his stepdaughter, who was 12-years-old at the time. The defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape. During his appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court failed to legally assess all the evidence presented. During her initial testimony, the victim declared that it was her stepfather who had caused the sexual abuse apparent in her psychological and physical examinations. However, she recanted two months later and stated that the abuse had actually been inflicted by her boyfriend. Nonetheless, the trial court convicted the victim’s stepfather. On appeal the Court found no error. It reasoned that the timing between the contradictory declarations and, most importantly, the nature of the second declaration indicated that the first testimony was correct. The Court found that such a declaration was a product of the stepfather’s pressure as it lacked many details and appeared disingenuous. The Court dismissed the procedural challenge and confirmed the sentence. 

En este caso, el acusado agredió sexualmente a su hijastra, que tenía 12 años en ese momento. El acusado fue condenado a 15 años de prisión por violación. Durante su apelación, el acusado argumentó que el tribunal de primera instancia no evaluó legalmente todas las pruebas presentadas. En su testimonio inicial, la víctima declaró que fue su padrastro quien había causado el abuso sexual aparente en sus exámenes físicos y psicológicos. Sin embargo, ella se retractó dos meses después y declaró que el abuso había sido infligido por su novio. No obstante, el tribunal de primera instancia condenó al padrastro de la víctima. En la apelación, La Corte no encontró ningún error. Razonó que el momento entre las declaraciones contradictorias y, lo más importante, la naturaleza de la segunda declaración indicaban que el primer testimonio era correcto. El Tribunal determinó que la segunda declaración era producto de la presión del padrastro, ya que carecía de muchos detalles y parecía poco sincera. El tribunal terminó la apelación y confirmó la sentencia como decisión final.

D.A.V.G. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2013)

Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant in this case spent 11 days at a hotel in Honduras with a 13-year-old girl. The victim and defendant had sexual relations throughout this time. Following a trial, the defendant was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the crime of special, or statutory, rape. The defendant challenged this decision on several grounds. First, he claimed that he lacked the requisite mens rea, as he was unaware of the victim’s age. He claimed that was due to both the victim’s physical appearance and her statements to him affirming that she was an adult. The Court dismissed this argument, and found the defendant capable of knowing that he was committing a crime when having sexual intercourse with the victim. Furthermore, the Court found that actual knowledge of the victim’s age was irrelevant, as special rape is a statutory crime. In addition to his claim regarding intent, the defendant also claimed that the evidence presented did not demonstrate sexual intercourse. The defendant pointed to a physical examination preformed on the victim, showing that her hymen was intact. The Court considered that oral statements during trial proved that there was sexual intercourse and that the state of the victim’s hymen was irrelevant, as sexual penetration does not always entail the hymen’s breaking. Therefore, the Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the sentence.  

En este caso, el acusado pasó 11 días en un hotel en Honduras con una niña de 13 años. La víctima y el acusado tuvieron relaciones sexuales durante este tiempo. Después de un juicio, el acusado fue sentenciado a 15 años de prisión por violación estatutaria. El demandado desafió esta decisión por varios motivos. En primer lugar, afirmó que no cumplía los requisitos para la condena, ya que desconocía la edad de la víctima. Afirmó que esto se debía tanto a la apariencia física de la víctima como a las declaraciones que le hizo afirmando que era una persona adulta. Sin embargo, el tribunal desestimó este argumento y encontró que el acusado debia de saber que estaba cometiendo un delito al tener relaciones sexuales con la víctima. Además, el Tribunal argumentó que el conocimiento real de la edad de la víctima era irrelevante, ya que la violación estatutaria es un delito legal independiente del conocimiento del acusado. Además de su reclamo con respecto a la intención, el acusado también alegó que la evidencia presentada no demostró relaciones sexuales. El acusado señaló un examen físico realizado en la víctima, lo que demuestra que su himen estaba intacto. El Tribunal consideró que las declaraciones orales durante el juicio probaron que habían habido relaciones sexuales y que el estado del himen de la víctima era irrelevante, ya que la penetración sexual no siempre implica la ruptura del himen. Por lo tanto, el Tribunal desestimó la apelación y confirmó la sentencia.

Attorney General's Office v. P.T.B.L. Supreme Court (2010)

Statutory rape or defilement

In 2005, an 8-year-old girl was grabbed in the street and taken to an inhabited home. There she was sexually assaulted by a man exposing his genitals. The victim’s mother found the child and the defendant in the abandoned home where she physically attacked him, causing him to flee. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to four years of imprisonment for acts of lust. The prosecutor challenged this decision. Although distinct challenges where submitted, the principal argument raised was that the accused actions amounted to attempted special rape, also known as statutory rape, as the victim was under 14-years-old at the time. The prosecutor argued that the defendant’s actions demonstrated intent to rape the child, and was only frustrated in his attempt due to the intervention of the victim’s mother. The Court agreed with the prosecutor and considered it unnecessary to review the other challenges raised by the defendant. The defendant was re-sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

En el 2005, una niña de 8 años fue agarrada en la calle y llevada a una casa habitada. Allí fue atacada sexualmente por un hombre que expuso sus genitales ante ella. La madre de la víctima encontró a la niña y al acusado en la casa abandonada donde ella lo atacó físicamente, lo que provocó que el huyera. El acusado fue declarado culpable y condenado a cuatro años de prisión por actos de lujuria. El fiscal impugnó esta decisión. Aunque se presentaron distintos desafíos, el principal argumento que se planteó fue que las acciones del acusado equivalían a un intento de violación estatutaria, también conocida como violación legal, ya que la víctima tenía menos de 14 años. El fiscal argumentó que las acciones del acusado demostraron su intención de violar a la niña y solo no se pudieron llevar a cabo debido a la intervención de la madre de la víctima. El Tribunal estuvo de acuerdo con el fiscal y consideró innecesario revisar los otros desafíos planteados por el acusado. El acusado fue condenado a 10 años de prisión.

J.A.C.Z. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2010)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant in this case took a female victim by the mouth, put her against the wall and sexually abused her. Following trial he was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment on for rape. His appeal advanced two primary arguments. The first argument was that the evidence presented in the case was contradictory and was not sufficiently reliable to convict him of rape. While some witnesses’ statements showed that the defendant grabbed the victim by the mouth, other witnesses suggested that he took her by the back. The Court dismissed this argument, finding that the relevant fact is that the accused used force to make the victim have sexual intercourse with him, and that fact constitutes the crime of rape. The defendant’s second argument was that physical exams of the victim revealed that she had an intact hymen. The defendant argued that the exam demonstrated the lack of any sexual abuse on his part. The Court disagreed and found that sexual abuse, included forced penetration, does not necessarily result in the breaking of a hymen. Therefore, the rape conviction was confirmed by the Supreme Court. 

El acusado en este caso agarró a la víctima por la boca, la puso contra la pared, y abusó sexualmente de ella. Después del juicio, él fue sentenciado a 10 años de prisión por violación. Su apelación adelantó dos argumentos principales. El primer argumento fue que las pruebas presentadas en el caso eran contradictorias y no eran lo suficientemente confiables para condenarlo por violación. Mientras que las declaraciones de algunos testigos mostraron que el acusado agarró a la víctima por la boca, otros testigos sugirieron que la tomó por la espalda. El Tribunal desestimó este contradiccion y concluyó que el hecho relevante es que el acusado utilizó la fuerza para que la víctima tuviera relaciones sexuales con él, y ese hecho automáticamente constituye el delito de violación. El segundo argumento de la acusada fue que los exámenes físicos de la víctima revelaron que tenía un himen intacto. El acusado argumentó que el examen demostró la falta de abuso sexual por su parte. El tribunal no estuvo de acuerdo y encontró que el abuso sexual, incluida la penetración forzada, no necesariamente resulta en la ruptura de un himen. Por lo tanto, la condena por violación fue confirmada por el Tribunal Supremo.

A.R.M.P. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2010)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The defendant was seized by police officers at his parents’ domicile for domestic violence against his wife. During the arrest, the defendant proceeded to insult the victim, threaten her, grab her by the hair and spit on her face. The defendant was sentenced to two years of imprisonment on the count of domestic violence. During his appeal, the defendant had three arguments for repealing his conviction. First, as the defendant’s conduct was governed under both Honduras criminal law and Honduras Domestic Violence Act, he argued that only the most recent law, the Honduras Domestic Violence Act, should be applied. That more recent piece of legislation does not establish any criminal punishment. The Court disagreed, and found that the defendant used force and intimidation to cause emotional harm which is covered under the criminal statute. The defendants second argument was that certain statements offered as evidence against the accused were not sufficiently convincing to meet criminal law threshold and therefore could not sustain a count for domestic violence.  The Court concluded that this argument did not meet the threshold for rejection of evidence in criminal law. The defendant’s final argument was that the evidence showed that the facts discussed at trial indicated that his behavior was different those covered under the law on which the Tribunal’s decision were based. Nonetheless, as those facts also indicate force and intimidation resulting in psychological damage for the victim, no grounds for reversal of the decision were found. The conviction for domestic violence was confirmed and the decision was sustained. 

La policía capturó al acusado en el domicilio de sus padres por violencia doméstica contra su esposa. Durante el arresto, el acusado procedió a insultar a la víctima, amenazarla, agarrarla por el pelo y escupirle la cara. El acusado fue condenado a dos años de prisión por el cargo de violencia doméstica. Durante su apelación, el acusado tenía tres argumentos para revocar su condena. Primero, dado que la conducta del acusado violaba la ley penal de Honduras y la Ley de Violencia Doméstica de Honduras, argumentó que solo se debería aplicar la ley más reciente, la Ley de Violencia Doméstica. Esa legislación más reciente no establece ningún castigo penal. El tribunal no estuvo de acuerdo y encontró que el acusado utilizó la fuerza y la intimidación para causar un daño emocional que está cubierto por el estatuto penal. El segundo argumento del acusado fue que ciertas declaraciones ofrecidas como evidencia contra el no eran lo suficientemente convincentes para cumplir con el umbral de la ley penal y, por lo tanto, no podían sostener un recuento de la violencia doméstica. El Tribunal concluyó que este argumento no calificaba para el rechazo de pruebas en el derecho penal. El argumento final del acusado fue que la evidencia mostraba que los hechos discutidos en el juicio indicaban que su comportamiento era diferente a los contemplados en la ley en que se basaba la decisión del Tribunal. No obstante, dado que sus hechos también indican fuerza e intimidación que causaron daños psicológicos a la víctima, no se encontraron motivos para revertir la decisión. Se confirmó la condena por violencia doméstica y se sostuvo la decisión.


R.R.R. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2013)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant invited a 16-year-old girl for a walk to a park, but refused to take her home when she requested. He instead took her to another residence and, along with other individuals, sexually assaulted her using force, insults and intimidation. The defendant was subsequently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for rape. He appealed the sentence alleging that the facts demonstrated establish that the accused had only “sexual relations” with the victim and Honduras criminal law, rape necessitates acts beyond sexual relations; specifically, penetration, which he claimed was not demonstrated in the facts. The Court reasoned that “sexual relations” was not limited to penetration, but included penetration. Therefore the Court rejected the appeal. The case was dismissed and the sentence upheld.

El acusado invitó a una niña de 16 años a caminar al parque, pero se negó a llevarla a su casa cuando lo solicitó. Él, en cambio, la llevó a otra residencia y, junto con otros individuos, la agredió sexualmente usando la fuerza, insultos, e intimidación. El acusado fue posteriormente condenado a 15 años de prisión por violación. Apeló la sentencia alegando que los hechos demostrados establecen que el acusado solo tenía "relaciones sexuales" con la víctima y con la ley penal de Honduras, la violación requiere actos más allá de las relaciones sexuales. Específicamente, la violación require la penetración, que según él no se demostró en los hechos. El Tribunal razonó que las "relaciones sexuales" no se limitaban a la penetración, sino que meramente incluían la penetración, sin ser un hecho exclusivo. Por lo tanto, el Tribunal rechazó la apelación. El caso fue desestimado y la sentencia fue confirmada.

J.A.H. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2011)

Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant, 52 years old, appealed a conviction stemming from the rape of a 13-year-old girl. The victim became pregnant following the assault, and the defendant supplied her with pills to prevent intestinal worms. The pills resulted in the victim experiencing minor bleeding.  Following a trial, the defendant was sentenced to prison for 15 years for aggravated rape and four years for attempted abortion. On appeal, the defendant argued that there had been no aggravated rape as the sexual intercourse was consensual and the claimant was unaware of the law prohibiting sexual intercourse with minors. Furthermore, the defendant argued that he sought to create a family with the victim. Concerning abortion, the accused argued that there was neither evidence demonstrating that the accused had the proper mens rea for the crime to arise, nor that the pills he provided could actually inflict an abortion on the victim. While the Court dismissed the defendant’s arguments regarding the rape, it held that the defendant was improperly convicted of attempted abortion. The Court found that the defendant did not possess the requisite means rea, nor did he engage in “unequivocal actions” of an attempt to inflict an abortion demonstrated.

El acusado, de 52 años de edad, apeló una condena por la violación de una niña de 13 años. La víctima quedó embarazada después del asalto, y el acusado le suministró pastillas para prevenir los gusanos intestinales. Las pastillas dieron como resultado que la víctima experimentara un sangrado menor. Tras un juicio, el acusado fue condenado a prisión durante 15 años por violación agravada y a cuatro años por intento de aborto. En la apelación, el acusado argumentó que no hubo violación agravada debido a que la relación sexual fue consensual y que él desconocía la ley que prohíbe las relaciones sexuales con menores. Además, el acusado argumentó que intentaba crear una familia con la víctima. En relación al aborto, el acusado dijo que no había pruebas que demostraran que él tenía los medios adecuados para que surgiera el delito, ni que las píldoras que él proporcionó podían infligir un aborto a la víctima. Mientras que la Corte desestimó los argumentos del acusado con respecto a la violación, la corte concluyó que él fue condenado indebidamente por intento de aborto. El Tribunal determinó que el acusado no poseía los medios necesarios, ni se involucró en "acciones inequívocas" con un intento demostrado de infligir un aborto.

A.R.T. v. Attorney General's Office Supreme Court (2012)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Mistakenly believing that a stranger was in his house, the defendant began insulting his wife and tried to beat her. He was prevented in succeeding in his attack after an intervention by their son. The defendant was consequently convicted of domestic violence and sentenced to 20 months in prison. Responding to the argument that a lack of force prevents his actions from satisfying the elements of domestic violence as codified in Honduras Penal Code, the Court responded that “intimidation” was within the elements of domestic violence. Furthermore, the Court held that that the accused failed to establish with particularity which elements were improperly decided. Therefore, it dismissed his appeal and confirmed the sentence.

Creyendo erróneamente que un extraño estaba en su casa, el acusado comenzó a insultar a su esposa y trató de golpearla. La intervención de su hijo previno el ataque. En consecuencia, el acusado fue declarado culpable de violencia doméstica y condenado a 20 meses de prisión. Respondiendo al argumento de que la falta de fuerza supuestamente impide que sus acciones satisfagan los elementos de violencia doméstica según lo codifica el Código Penal de Honduras, la Corte respondió que la "intimidación" satisface los elementos de violencia doméstica. Además, el Tribunal sostuvo que el acusado no pudo establecer con particularidad qué elementos se decidieron incorrectamente. Por lo tanto, desestimó su recurso y confirmó la sentencia.

2013 (O) No. 1079 Supreme Court (2015)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff, who had divorced her former husband and remarried seven months later, sued the State claiming that she had suffered mental distress due to a provision in the Civil Code which barred women from remarrying until six months after the dissolution or rescission of her previous marriage. Both the District Court and the High Court dismissed the plaintiff’s argument, saying that the restriction was not necessarily unreasonable because it was meant to avert confusion over the paternity of any children born immediately after a divorce. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, holding that the provision violated the Constitution only to the extent that the restriction exceeded 100 days, because 1) the Civil Code already provided that a child born more than 200 days after the formation of a marriage or less than 300 days after the dissolution/rescission of a marriage would be presumed to have been conceived within the marriage, and 2) advances in medical technology and societal changes made it difficult to justify a restriction lasting beyond 100 days. However, the Supreme Court also affirmed the District Court and High Court in finding that the State was not liable in this case for failing to abolish the regulation, as this did not constitute an exceptional case that might incur liability under the State Redress Act. Shortly after this judgment, the Civil Code was amended to decrease the six month waiting period to 100 days.

2010 (A) No. 2011 Supreme Court (2012)

Gender-based violence in general

The defendant was accused of taking and imprisoning four young women in either the guestroom of a hotel or in the defendant’s home. The victims suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the imprisonment. One of the key issues in the case was whether the defendant’s act constituted the crime of Confinement Causing Injury, or only the crime of Confinement. The defendant argued that a psychiatric condition, such as PTSD, should not be regarded as an “injury” under the Criminal Code. The District Court and the High Court dismissed the defendant’s argument, and the Supreme Court affirmed, holding that if the defendant illegally imprisoned the victim and the victim developed continuous and characteristic PTSD symptoms as a result of the imprisonment, the victim’s PTSD could constitute an “injury” under the Criminal Code. Therefore, the defendant’s act constituted Confinement Causing Injury. This was the first Supreme Court precedent which found that a purely psychiatric condition which was not accompanied by a physical manifestation could fall within the meaning of “injury.”

Mifumi (U) Ltd. & Another v. Attorney General & Another Supreme Court (2015)

Gender discrimination

On appeal from the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Uganda held that the practice of asking for a bride price is constitutional but seeking a refund of the bride price as a precondition for the dissolution of a customary marriage is unconstitutional.  The Court did not agree with Appellants that bride prices promote inequality in marriage and hampers free consent to marry.  

Ragen, et al. v. Ministry of Transport, et al. Supreme Court (2011)

Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The petitioners sued the defendants for operating “mehadrin” bus lines for orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.  Petitioners argue that these bus lines discriminate based on gender by allowing men to board and sit in the front of the bus while requiring that women board by the rear door, sit in the back, and dress modestly.  Petitioners claim these restrictions violate their fundamental and constitutional rights to equality, dignity, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience.  Petitioners refused to comply with the gender restrictions, which respondents claimed were not compulsory but voluntary and thus legal.  Petitioners, however, countered that the gender separation on mehadrin lines is not voluntary and that they were subjected to verbal harassment, threatened with physical violence, humiliated, and forced to leave the bus when they declined to observe the gender separation.  After the respondents agreed to an examination of public transportation arrangements on lines serving the ultra-orthodox sector by an independent committee and the committee delivered its analysis, the Court ordered respondent 1 to instruct respondent 2 to publicize the cancellation of the separation arrangements (within 10 days of the date on which the judgment was rendered), and ordered respondent 2 to carry out its instructions within 30 days of the judgment. Within that period of time, respondents 2 and 3 were to post signs regarding the cancellation in all buses formerly subject to “mehadrin” arrangements, without exception. 

Israel v. Ben-Hayim Supreme Court (2005)

Gender discrimination

The respondent, the manager of the Postmen Department at the Benei Berak branch of the Postal Authority, was acquitted of sexually harassing and victimizing a temporary employee, but convicted of unbecoming conduct. The Civil Service Disciplinary Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) found that the respondent promised to a promotion to the complainant, that he had conducted a sexual relationship with the complainant, and that he tried to prevent the complainant from making a complaint against him, which stated that he visited her apartment for several months and had sexual intercourse with her against her will.  As a result, the complainant felt exploited and humiliated. The Tribunal held that the State failed to prove that the respondent abused his authority. The Tribunal then approved the sentencing agreement that the parties reached, although it admitted it was lenient. On appeal by the state, the Supreme Court held that the respondent’s power to influence the professional future of the workers was considerable and that he held a position of considerable power over the complainant, who was 22 years old at the time of the conduct while the respondent was 20 years older than her, which added to the his control. It follows that the complainant consented to the sexual acts was given because the respondent abused his authority over her, and therefore it was not a voluntary and genuine consent but instead “prohibited consensual intercourse.”  The Court stated that “abuse of authority” need not involve a direct threat; in sexual harassment cases such abuse may be “express or implied, direct or indirect” and is no less potent if it is “in a veiled manner.”  The Court added a one-year suspension from any managerial position to the sentence imposed by the lower Tribunal, explaining that this still amounted to a lenient punishment for the offense committed.