Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

杨恩光、李文建等拐卖妇女案, 云南省红河哈尼族彝族自治州中级人民法院 (Yunnan Province v. Enguang Yang, Wenjian Li) People’s Procuratorate of Honghe Harniyizu District Court (2014)

Forced and early marriage, Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

The defendants Yang and Li trafficked 17 Vietnamese women who were prostitutes in Vietnam to Yunnan Province, China. Yang and Li pretended to be clients and brought the women to hotels and restaurants where they kidnapped the women and transported them to China. The defendants offered the women to villagers in remote rural area of Yunnan Province, China and forced the women to marry buyers by force or threats. Under Article 48 and Article 240 of Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, the two defendants were sentenced to the death penalty and their private property was confiscated by the court. The women were provided with assistance to return to Vietnam.

包办婚姻与早婚、性暴力与强奸、人口拐卖

被告人杨某和李某将17名从事卖淫活动的越南妇女拐卖至中国云南省。被告人以嫖娼为名,采用暴力手段,强行将越南籍妇女被害人绑架并带入中国。被告人将这些妇女转卖至云南省偏远地区的村民并强迫和威胁他们嫁给买家。依照中华人民共和国刑法第四十八条和第二百四十条,两名被告人被判决死刑、并处没收全部个人财产。中国司法机关将被解救妇女全部安全地送返国籍国。



R v. S High Court of New Zealand (2012)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Forced and early marriage, Sexual violence and rape

S was convicted for repeated violent rape within an arranged marriage over the course of 13 months. The court imposed a sentence of 13 years, six months imprisonment for the rape, with concurrent sentences for the lesser offenses, calculated as a 15 year base due to the violent nature of the acts and the vulnerability of the victim, with a downward adjustment for the respondent’s lack of prior convictions. The court declined to impose a minimum period of imprisonment, explaining that a minimum period of imprisonment is only warranted if the sentence imposed would be insufficient to hold one accountable, to denounce their conduct, or to protect others.



Smt. Seema v. Ashwani Kumar Supreme Court of India (2007)

Forced and early marriage, Harmful traditional practices

The Supreme Court ordered that all marriages be registered in order to prevent child marriage.



Ashok Kumar v. Birakishore High Court of India (2004)

Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices

A father alleged that his son-in-law had kidnapped his daughter.  The daughter showed that she was of age and had married of her own free will.  The court held that a family can have no control over who an adult chooses to marry.



Association for Social Justice Research v. Union of India Supreme Court of India (2010)

Harmful traditional practices

A father married his 11–12 year old daughter to an adult man.  When an NGO intervened, the father and "husband" argued that no money had been exchanged and that the girl would have a better life in marriage.  The Court held that marriage of a minor girl is presumptively invalid unless the girl decides otherwise when she reaches 18 years of age.



International Case Law

Hadijatou Mani Koraou v. Republic of Niger ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (2008)

Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Harmful traditional practices, Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

Hadijatou Mani, who was born to a mother in slavery, was sold to a local chief at age 12. For the next nine years she was subjected to rape, violence, and forced labor without remuneration. When Niger’s Supreme Court failed to convict her master under Article 270.1-5 of the Nigerien Criminal Code, which made slavery illegal in 2003, Hadijatou brought her case before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice under Article 9(4) of the Supplementary Protocol A/SP.1/01/05. The court ruled that Hadijatou had been a slave under the definition in Article 1 (I) of the Slavery Convention of 1926 and that in failing to convict Hadijatou’s former master, Niger had not upheld its legal responsibility to protect her from slavery under international law. This case was the first ECOWAS ruling on slavery and only the second conviction made under Niger’s 2003 anti-slavery law. The case gained a high level of publicity, setting the precedent for women to fight back against the traditional slavery practices common to Niger and other ECOWAS nations. As of 2009, there had been approximately 30 more cases upholding the prohibition of slavery in Niger.



A.S. v. Sweden CAT Committee (2000)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination

A.S.’s husband was mysteriously killed during training with the Iranian Air Force, and the Iranian government subsequently declared him to be a martyr. As the widow of a martyr, A.S. was required to submit to the rigid rules of the Bonyad-e Shahid Islamic society, a foundation which supported and supervised the families of martyrs. In accordance with the aims of Bonyad-e Shahid, a high-ranking leader forced A.S. to be his wife in a sigheh marriage, a temporary marital arrangement that requires no registration or witnesses and is used as a measure to prevent women from being sexually active outside of marriage. A.S. was forced to live with her sigheh husband and perform sexual services for him at his command. A.S. later fell in love with a Christian man, and when the two were discovered together by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, A.S. was taken into custody at the Ozghol police station in Tehran. A.S. was severely beaten by her sigheh husband for five to six hours. A.S. managed to obtain a visa to visit her sister in Sweden, and upon her arrival she applied for asylum; her application was rejected by both the Swedish Immigration Board and the Aliens Appeal Board. Since her departure from Iran, A.S. had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. In her complaint to the Committee, A.S. alleged that her forced return to Iran would constitute a violation of Sweden’s article 3 obligation not to expel or return a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. The Committee referred to the report of the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Iran which confirmed that Iran had recently sentenced several married women to death by stoning for adultery. Considering that A.S.’s account of events was consistent with the Committee’s knowledge about present human rights violations in Iran, the Committee held that in accordance with article 3 of the Convention, Sweden should refrain from forcing A.S. to return to Iran.