Women and Justice: Keywords

Domestic Case Law

Z.D.C. v. E.M.S. Rechtbank van eerste aanleg te Antwerpen (Court of First Instance in Antwerp) (2017)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, LGBTIQ

The two accused were prosecuted for invading the home of the two victims and assaulting them, which temporarily prevented the victims from being able to work. The first accused organized the crime because she could neither accept the breakup with one of the victims nor the fact that the victim was in a relationship with a man. Additionally, the first accused created a false Facebook profile to make fun of one victim’s sexual orientation and to convince one victim to break up with the other. The Court found that the motive of the crime was, among others, the sexual orientation of the victims, which is an aggravating circumstance of the assault. The Court found that the facts regarding the first accused had been clearly established. However, the interrogation and the investigation did not provide the court with enough evidence to hold the second accused criminally liable. The Court convicted the first accused and imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment and a fine of EUR 100.00 (increased with the multiplication factor of 50, i.e., in total EUR 5000), but suspended for five years if the accused complied with the terms of probation.



Public Prosecutor v. S.C. Rechtbank van eerste aanleg West-Vlaanderen afdeling Brugge sectie correctionele rechtbank (Bruges Criminal Court) (2018)

Gender-based violence in general, LGBTIQ

The accused was prosecuted for assaulting a trans woman and her partner for being transsexual. The accused confessed to calling the victim and her partner “dirty transsexuals” and assaulting them. Following the assault, a doctor determined that the victim was unable to work. The Court found that the facts were uncontested and therefore proven. According to the Court, the accused showed a lack of respect for social norms and the physical integrity of other human beings. Additionally, the Court found the punishment should reflect that the crime was based on the victim’s transsexual status and that the punishment should serve to have a strong deterrent effect. The court convicted the accused and imposed a sentence of  six months imprisonment and a fine of EUR 100.00 (increased with the multiplication factor of 50 (i.e., in total EUR 5000))which would be suspended during three years if the accused obeyed the terms of probation.



The Queen v. Kilic High Court of Australia (2016)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

This domestic violence case involved an appeal against a sentencing decision. The defendant set fire to the victim when she was 12 weeks pregnant and caused serious injury. After the attack, she terminated her pregnancy due to the permanent nature of her injuries. The trial court sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. On appeal by the defendant, the Court of Appeal decided that this was “manifestly excessive” compared to other cases of serious injury by fire and resentenced the defendant to 10 years and six months imprisonment. On appeal by the prosecution, the High Court of Australia held that the Court of Appeal had erred in decreasing the sentence and pointed out that there were not enough comparable cases of intentionally causing serious injury by fire and the few cases mentioned could not establish a sentencing pattern.



Munda v. Western Australia High Court of Australia (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Femicide

This domestic violence case involved an appeal against a sentencing decision. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to five years and seven months imprisonment for the manslaughter of his spouse after a history of domestic violence against his wife and other family members. The trial court considered the defendant's circumstances of disadvantage – that he was an Aboriginal man and grew up in an environment that normalized violence and alcohol abuse – as mitigating factors. In the first appeal, the prosecution successfully argued that the sentence was manifestly inadequate, and the Court of Appeal increased the sentence to seven years and nine months. The defendant then appealed to the High Court of Australia, arguing that there were insufficient grounds for the Court of Appeal to interfere with the original sentence and ignore the mitigating factors considered in the original judgment, in particular his social disadvantage. The High Court dismissed the appeal, finding that the first appellate court gave proper weight to the defendant’s social disadvantages and acted properly within its discretion in the resentencing.



J. v. The Queen High Court of Australia (2018)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

In 2015, the appellant was charged and convicted for committing five sexual offenses against his sister. The had purportedly occurred over  years,. Most of the charged offenses, sexual exploitation of a child and two rapes, occurred when the appellant was an adult, but prosecutors also charged him with an indecent assault committed when he was 11 or 12 years old and thus presumed to be incapable of the offense. To rebut this presumption, the prosecution offered evidence of the appellant’s earlier, uncharged acts of sexual violence against his sister beginning when he was five or six years old. In the first appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal found that the prosecution’s rebuttal evidence was insufficient to overcome the doli incapax presumption for the indecent assault charge and the evidence was “too sparse” to sustain a conviction for the third count in the indictment. The court upheld the other three convictions. In this appeal, the High Court examined whether it was permissible for the prosecution to use evidence of the dismissed charges for “contextual” purposes related to the remaining three charges, each of which the appellant was convicted. In dismissing this appeal, the High Court found unanimously that the evidence was relevant because it illustrated the family background in which the appellant and his sister were raised and that it was admissible “relationship evidence.” The court found that without such contextual evidence, the sexual abuse claims could easily have been seen as implausible.



People's Procuratorate of Chongming County v. Shi Chongming County District People's Court of Shanghai Municipality (2014)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

On May 20, 2014, the defendant used a hammer to strike her husband’s head three times. She then asked her son to send her husband to hospital where he died. The Court found that throughout their marriage, the deceased often beat and abused the defendant. The day before the incident, the deceased beat the defendant for a long period of time. At approximately 5:30 AM the following day, the defendant, due to the history of abuse, decided to kill her husband. During the trial, multiple witnesses testified to the deceased’s long history of domestic violence. A letter signed by more than 100 people, including close relatives of the deceased, also confirmed that he had abused the defendant over a long period of time. The Court held that the defendant’s conduct qualified as murder. However, because her motive was her husband’s long history of domestic violence, the victim himself was also culpable. Because the defendant had little possibility of recidivism and because there was strong public sympathy for the defendant, the court sentenced her to four years imprisonment. She was due to be released on May 21, 2018. On August 29, 2017, Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court ordered her release on parole.



People’s Procuratorate of Dazhou City Sichuan Province v. Tang Higher People's Court of Sichuan Province (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The lower court convicted the appellant of intentional assault and sentenced her to life imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for life for stabbing her cohabiting boyfriend to death. The lower court held that the defendant’s motive, frivolous arguments, constituted a crime of intentional assault.  The lower court found that the consequence of the crime was serious and that the defendant should receive a severe punishment. On appeal, the Higher People’s Court of Sichuan Province reversed the lower court’s holding, finding that (1) the appellant turned herself in and obtained forgiveness from relatives of the deceased; (2) on the day of incident, the victim had attacked the appellant first, and should bear certain responsibility. Thus, the High People’s Court reversed the lower court’s ruling and reduced the sentence to 15 years in prison and deprivation of political rights for three years. Available here.



Jacques v. State Supreme Court of Rhode Island (1995)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant appealed a 12-year prison sentence, arguing that his sentence was excessive given that there was no evidence he used violent force or penile penetration. However, the court held that the defendant failed to show the sentence imposed on him by the trial court was excessive or that any serious disparity existed between his sentence and any other sentence imposed for similar convictions, citing the fact that the Supreme Court found he violated Rhode Island’s sexual assault statute even though he did not commit penile penetration or use violent force (“the type of penetration is unimportant under the sexual-assault statute . . . The fact that only digital penetration occurred does not lessen [the victim’s] fear and humiliation.”).



The State v. L.S. High Court of Namibia (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The accused murdered her newborn child and pleaded guilty to the crime. In determining her prison sentence, the judge took into account mitigating circumstances such as her young age (21 years old), the fact that the child’s father denied responsibility for the child, and the fact that her family nearly kicked her out of their home when she had her previous child. The judge also acknowledged that she was a first-time offender and showed remorse for the crime. However, he reiterated the seriousness of the crime and stated that he did not want his leniency in this case to serve as a message to other young women that infanticide was acceptable. He further stated that newborn infants have just as much a right to life as anyone else. For the murder, he sentenced the accused to three years imprisonment with 30 months suspended for five years on the condition that the accused not be convicted of murder during the suspension. For the concealment of the birth of her newborn child, the judge sentenced the accused to six months imprisonment to run concurrently with the murder sentence.



The State v. G.I. High Court of Namibia (2007)

Abortion and reproductive health rights

The accused was an 18-year-old woman charged with the crime of abortion under the Abortion and Sterilization Act, 2 of 1975 (the “Act”). The Act outlaws abortion and prescribes no minimum sentence for the crime. The accused pleaded guilty and testified that she performed the abortion on herself, which terminated a two-month-long pregnancy. The Court sentenced her to pay N$3,000 or serve two years in prison. On review, the High Court found the sentence to be “completely” disproportionate to the crime. The Judge referred to the Old Authorities and stated that sentences for abortion should be less harsh in cases where a very young fetus is involved. The Judge also found that the accused personal circumstances and the particular circumstances of her trial, including the fact that she was a minor at the time, did not have counsel to represent her, and was not given the opportunity to explain her actions, warranted mitigation of the penalty. Finding that the lower court did not factor in any of these mitigating circumstances, the High Court reduced the sentence to N$300 or three months in prison, which he suspended on the condition that during that period the accused was not convicted of any abortion-related crime.



The State v. Dausab High Court of Namibia (2018)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Femicide

The accused was convicted of pre-meditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment after stabbing his girlfriend (“the victim”) 27 times and locking her in a room until she bled to death. Prior to murdering the victim, the accused sent her a text message describing how he would kill her. At trial, the court determined the crime was aggravated by the fact that the accused had a direct intention of murdering his girlfriend and did so in a domestic setting. In imposing a sentence, the court took into account retribution, prevention of crime, deterrence and reformation. The court further found that the accused did not care about the victim’s right to life, but rather his own wellbeing, that he “played victim,” and that he showed no remorse. The judge stated that it “is high time that men in relationships with women should understand that once a woman tells them that they are no longer interested in continuing with the relationship, she means just that and her views and feelings should be understood and respected.”



H.D. v. The State Supreme Court of Namibia (2018)

Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was charged with the rape and indecent assault of a three-year-old girl (“the complainant”). He pled “not guilty” to both counts but was convicted on the first count and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. The trial court acquitted the appellant on the second count. On appeal, the appellant argued that (a) the charge did not contain adequate particulars of the date and time of the alleged crimes; (b) the degree of the injuries to the complainant made it doubtful that he could have raped her; and (c) the cautionary rule was not correctly applied when the trial court reviewed the complainant’s evidence. The Supreme Court confirmed that the trial court was not only aware of the risks associated with the evidence presented by a sole young witness, but also exercised appropriate caution in considering the complainant’s evidence. It further found that the evidence presented at trial, including testimony by the complainant’s mother and older sister provided sufficient details to uphold the conviction. The appeal was accordingly denied.



Decision No. 246/Pid.B/2013/PN.Trt District Court of Tarutung (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Defendant forced his wife (the victim) to sleep in the cold outside of the bedroom and when the victim tried to enter the bedroom and sleep on the bed, the Defendant proceeded to push her to the floor and beat her, causing bruises and injuries to the victim. The court found the Defendant guilty of an act of domestic violence under Article 44(1) of Law No.23 2004 on Elimination of Domestic Violence. The court sentenced the Defendant to three months imprisonment.



Decision No. 174/pid.Sus/2013/PN.Kpj District Court of Kepanjen (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Defendant had an argument with his wife (the victim) and proceeded to hit his head against the victim’s head three times causing bruising and swelling to occur on the victim’s head. The court considered this act as an act of domestic violence under Article 5 of Law No. 23/2004 relating to Elimination of Domestic Violence. The court found the Defendant guilty and sentenced him to three months imprisonment.



Longsworth v. The Queen Court of Appeal of Belize (2012)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The appellant threw an accelerant on her husband, followed by a lit candle.  She then immediately attempted to douse the flames in water.  Her husband died and she was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.  On appeal, the appellant attempted to introduce new evidence that she had suffered from Battered Women Syndrome (“BWS”).  This evidence was not available during the appellant’s trial because there were no qualified forensic psychiatrists available in Belize.  The Court of Appeal granted the appeal on the ground that (1) it was capable of belief; (2) it was relevant to the issues before the jury; (3) it would have been admissible at trial; (4) the trial attorney had been asked why no medical evidence was presented at trial; (5) the new evidence may have caused the jury to decide differently; (6) the evidence supports a defense of diminished responsibility and (7) it cast doubt as to the reasonableness of the verdict and admission of the evidence was in the interest of justice.  The court considered the findings of an experienced and distinguished professional in the field of forensic psychiatry who examined the appellant, interviewed witnesses, and reviewed trial documents and found that the appellant’s history and behavior was consistent with BWS.  The forensic psychiatrist concluded that the appellant had been physically, sexually, financially, and psychologically abused by her partner for nine years.  This abuse, together with the appellant’s response to the abuse, was found to be consistent with BWC.  The Court reduced the appellant’s sentence to eight years.  This case was the first time that a court in Belize admitted new evidence in relation to BWS and PTSD in connection with a defense of diminished responsibility. 



Lawrence v. The Queen Court of Appeal of Belize (2018)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Femicide

The appellant was convicted of the murder of his romantic partner of eight years and was sentenced to life in prison.  On the night of the murder, the appellant first beat his partner in front of her three children. One of children called the police to report the beating, but the police failed to respond to the residence.  Following the beating, the appellant left the house, but returned an hour later, broke into the house, and stabbed his partner to death.  The appellant then drove his partner to the hospital where he was subsequently arrested. At the appellant' trial, testimony revealed that the appellant was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the killing and had a history of domestic violence. The first issue before the Court of Appeal was whether the trial judge gave adequate instructions on the potential for intoxication to be taken into account when deciding whether there was an intent to kill for the purposes of the appellant’s defense.  The Court of Appeal found that such instructions given by the trial judge were adequate.  The next issue decided by the Court of Appeal was whether new evidence from a forensic psychiatrist based on a single interview with the appellant regarding the appellant’s mental health necessitated a new trial.  The Court of Appeal found the new evidence to be less than credible, but exercised discretion to substitute the original conviction of murder to a conviction of manslaughter and reduced the appellant’s sentence to 18 years.  In reducing the sentence, the Court of Appeal began with the range of sentences for murder applicable a street fight (being 15 to 20 years), although acknowledged that the instant case differed in that it was a “vicious attack on an unarmed victim.”  Taking into account appellant’s diagnosis of schizophrenia, the Court of Appeal began with a 15-year sentence and then added three years to reflect the aggravating factors of “the choice of weapon, the number of stab wounds, the presence of the children and the previous violence he inflicted on the deceased about an hour before the fatal incident” to arrive at the 18 year sentence ordered.



Carne v Wride & Carne v Nicholas Supreme Court of the Northern Territory (2012)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The appellant Barry Carne was formerly in a relationship with L.S., the victim and the mother of his four children.  One day Carne entered L.S.’s home without consent, destroyed property, and confronted L.S..  During the altercation he grabbed and twisted L.S.’s right hand and fingers, causing her to fall in pain.  As a result he was charged with aggravated assault, and a domestic violence order was issued against him.  The domestic violence order restrained him from contacting, approaching, intimidating or harassing the victim and from exposing their children to domestic violence.  While the domestic violence order was in force, Carne again went to L.S.’s house.  After L.S. did not answer, he attempted to hang himself outside the home, only to be saved by his son, who was 14 at the time.  Carne was charged with breaching the domestic violence order, and pleaded guilty.  The sentencing magistrate sentenced him to eight months’ imprisonment for the breach and two months for the aggravated assault, to be served concurrently.  Carne appealed the sentence, claiming that it was manifestly excessive, and argued that the magistrate took into account irrelevant matters, in particular his suicide attempt.  The court of appeal considered the definition of “domestic violence” and whether Carne’s attempted suicide in front of the children was an attempt to cause mental harm to L.S. and/or her children.  The court held that the sentencing magistrate had not received sufficient evidence from the prosecution demonstrating that Carne had attempted the suicide in order to cause mental harm to L.S. and/or her children and, accordingly, it was not open to the magistrate to make such a finding.  The magistrate was required to exclude any other reasonable hypothesis, permitted by the facts, regarding the attempted suicide before concluding that the intent was to cause mental harm.  As such, the sentence was reduced to one month’s imprisonment.



X. v. Y., BGE 131 IV 167 Supreme Federal Court (2005)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape

Y. was married to X. until 1993. After the divorce, he continued to live with his former wife until March 2001, when he moved into his own flat. The former spouses continued their sexual relationship until September 2, 2001, after which they finally separated. From September 21 to October 12, 2001, Y. sent X. a large number of messages demanding that she perform certain sexual acts and threatening her. X. finally consented to the sexual acts demanded - including sexual intercourse and filming a sex tape. X. was forced to film pornography and suffered sexual abuse for about two months. Initially, the Winterthur Court condemned Y. to sixteen (16) months in prison for sexual coercion and rape. On appeal, the prison sentence was reduced to four (4) months, but Y.’s culpability was firmly reiterated. Y. appealed to the Supreme Federal Court, claiming that the threats to X. were not as severe as the prosecution had claimed. This appeal was rejected by the Supreme Federal Court, and the sentence of four (4) months remained in place.



Sentencia nº 235 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (2016)

Sexual violence and rape

In the predawn hours of a Sunday morning, police officers came upon a cab parked in a secluded location.  A woman (apparently an adolescent) emerged from the car naked and told the officers she was being raped by the driver, who was found with his pants down.  Prosecutors charged the driver with attempted sexual violence.  After the driver pled guilty and was sentenced to 50 months of imprisonment, the victim appealed the classification of the offense and prosecutors opposed the appeal.  Based on evidence in the record, the court of appeals modified the conviction to sexual violence, doubling the time of the prison sentence.  On the driver’s cassation appeal, the Supreme Court held that, by upgrading the conviction beyond the driver’s plea, the modification denied the driver the opportunity to present a defense and thus violated his right to due process.  The Supreme Court accordingly vacated the modification and remanded the case for rehearing of the victim’s appeal. 



Warren v. R. Court of Appeal (2015)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The applicant was convicted in the Circuit Court of Kingston for the offences of indecent assault, incest and assault. Later, a single judge granted leave to appeal and granted legal aid to the appellant. The prosecution conceded that the learned trial judge erred in imposing a sentence of 15 years imprisonment in respect of the incest charge, under the Child Care Protection Act of 2004, because the appellant was actually charged under the Incest (Punishment) Act, which establishes as maximum penalty for the crime is five years. As a consequence, the appeal against the sentence was allowed on the incest charge and this was set aside and substituted for five years imprisonment. The Court didn’t take into account, nor studied, the possibility of amending the indictment due to the specific circumstances and seriousness of the case, that is, the fact that the appellant sexually assaulted an underage girl on more than one occasion, and also, according to the evidence, threatened her to kill her if she made him go to prison.



Blake v. R. Court of Appeal (2015)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The applicant pleaded guilty before the Circuit Court of Westmoreland for the offence of having sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16, in violation of section 10(1) of the Sexual Offences Act. He was in a serious relationship with the underage girl, but the matter was brought to the attention of the police when the complainant discovered she was pregnant and there was a dispute regarding the defendant’s paternity (tests showed he indeed was the father). He then argued that he was lured and tempted by the complainant, who would attend to his shop in revealing clothes and make sexual advances to him. The grounds for the defendant’s application was that the four-year sentence was manifestly excessive and that the judge was obliged to indicate, as a matter of law, the sentence that would have been imposed if the applicant had been convicted at trial and use that as a starting point for taking into account the fact that the applicant had plead guilty. In addition, his counsel highlighted as mitigating factors: the girl was just six months away from the age of consent and the sexual intercourse was consensual. His counsel also argued that the judge did not take into consideration the character and antecedents of the applicant, as well as the classic sentencing principles of retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation. However, the Court decided that, although the indication of a starting point for sentencing would have been desirable, they do not see the omission as being fatal to the reasoning underlying the sentencing. They also highlighted that it’s clear that Parliament has recognized this offence as a serious one, and their commitment against it. This case is particularly important because the Court stated that Jamaica has particular difficulties in dealing with offences involving young girls constantly being abused and exploited by older men, and that they have to get the message out that the children must be allowed to transition into adulthood without any molestation. Furthermore, the court stated that the pregnancy of the girl must not be taken as a mitigating factor, because that would send the message that a man who gets the girl pregnant is likely to be treated more favorably by the Court. Finally, the Court insisted that these pronouncements, in the context of the alarming local circumstances, should be guiding principles in sentencing these matters and cases.



NJA 2015 s. 1024 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2015)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant, an 18-year-old man, was convicted of rape and sentenced to one year in prison. The question for the Supreme Court was whether the jail sentence was too long, given the defendant’s age. The Supreme Court noted that that the punishment for rape of the “normal degree” (Sw. normalgraden) is between two and four years’ imprisonment.  Normally, courts reduce jail sentences by fifty percent when the defendant is 18 years old.  However, for long jail sentences, the courts have discretion to further reduce the punishment.  The court also recognized that punishments other than jail sentences also may be considered. Given the crime, the court determined that community service was inappropriate, but reduced the defendant’s sentence to probation and three months’ imprisonment.  Though rape is a serious offense, the Supreme Court adhered to the principle that imprisoning young individuals should be avoided, to the extent possible.



Mougdiel S.M., Case No. APN-135-15 Tribunal de Sentencia de Ahuachapan (2015)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

This case is an appeal from a judgment by a lower court.  Judge Delmy Elizabeth Mejia Salazar found Alvin, a 27-year-old farmer originating from Concepcion de Ataco, guilty of attempted rape of a minor (11 years old) in violation of articles 159 and 172 of the El Salvadoran criminal code, and sentenced Alvin to seven years imprisonment.  In the underlying case, the victim testified that Alvin forced her into a crawling position, raped, and sodomized her.  On appeal, Alvin argued that the sentencing judge did not properly apply article 179 of the criminal code of procedure as the evidence presented by the forensic expert did not show any injuries in support of a finding of rape and/or sodomization.  On appeal, the court emphasized that the medical examination was conducted a month and a half after the attempted rape and sodomization, which provided sufficient time for any injuries to heal.  The court further stated that article 159 of the penal code does not require the use of violence and indicated that not every attempted violation will leave physical evidence (e.g., if the victim has a passive reaction to the aggression which does not result in the use of force).  Additionally, Alvin did not deny attempting to sexually assault the victim by putting her in a crawling position.  Thus, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s ruling and sentence, which was shorter than the eight years imprisonment recommended by the relevant statute.



F.A.P.A., Case No. 191-09-2016 Tribunal de Sentencia de Chalatenango (2016)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

F.A.P.A., the defendant, was a 54-year-old unmarried Salvadoran farmer residing in La Reina, El Salvador. At the time of the allegations giving rise to the case, he was receiving treatment for epilepsy.  An evening, F.A.P.A. visited his niece.  F.A.P.A. and his niece, a minor, were sitting on a couch watching television when his niece’s mother left the room to attend to her other children.  During that time, F.A.P.A. engaged in sexual behavior with his niece against her will by touching her genitals and kissing her in the mouth.  F.A.P.A. was subsequently arrested by Salvadoran police officers for sexually harassing his niece.  F.A.P.A. later confessed to these underlying facts.  Section 165 of the El Salvadoran Penal Code states a person is liable for sexual harassment when that person (1) engages in sexual behavior involving phrases, touching , signs, or other unequivocal conduct of a sexual nature or content, (2) the action is undesired by the person who receives it, (3) the action does not constitute a more serious sexual offence, (4) in the case of a person of legal age, the action is repeated, and (5) the action is intentional.  The court found that F.A.P.A.’s confession of intentionally touching his niece’s genitals and kissing her against her will satisfies the elements of sexual harassment.  Although F.A.P.A. was being treated for epilepsy, the court found that he was capable of distinguishing right from wrong and acted consciously.  The court found F.A.P.A. guilty of sexual harassment punishable by two years imprisonment.  However, in lieu of the prison sentence, the court exercised its discretion under articles 77 and 79 of the Penal Code and sentenced F.A.P.A. to two years of probation with the following restrictions: (1) prohibition from leaving the country; (2) prohibition from approaching the victim or her family; (3) prohibition from ingesting intoxicating drinks; and (4) will be under probationary surveillance.



Prosecutor's Office v. Nermin Ćupina Ustavni Sud Bosne i Hercegovine (Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2006)

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

In 2002, Nermin Ćupina (“Ćupina”) recruited two underage girls and one woman and forced them, through threats of violence to them and their family members, to provide sexual services for money.  Each day, the victims were forced to earn KM 400 through prostitution, all of which Ćupina kept.  The Court of BiH sentenced Ćupina to 12 years’ imprisonment, which it added to Ćupina’s four-year prison sentence from the Cantonal Court in Mostar, resulting in a single sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment after credit for time served.  In addition, in accordance with Article 110 of the Criminal Code of BiH, the Court of BiH confiscated the material gain Ćupina acquired through his criminal enterprise.  The court, relying on the findings of an expert, established that Ćupina made at least BAM 100,000 in 2002 by prostituting the victims.  The court also concluded that because neither Ćupina nor his wife had regular income during 2002, the construction of an apartment valued at BAM 61,481.55 was financed entirely from Ćupina’s criminal enterprise.  The Court of BiH confiscated the apartment and ordered Ćupina to pay the remainder of the estimated material gain, BAM 38,518.45.

Decision available in English here.  



Prosecutor's Office v. Predrag Kujundžić Sudom Bosne i Hercegovine (Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2010)

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

From the spring of 1992 to the autumn of 1993, during the Bosnian War, Predrag Kujundžić, a commander in the local military and later police force, led several attacks against non-Serb civilians in Doboj.  During that time, he incited, aided, and abetted the murder, rape, imprisonment, and persecution of non-Serb civilians.  In addition, from June to December 1992, Kujundžić forced a Muslim minor into sexual slavery by use of force and threats to kill the victim’s mother and younger sister.  Kujundžić repeatedly raped the victim, forced her to have sexual intercourse with soldiers, and controlled every aspect of her life.  In 2009, the Court of BiH found Kujundžić guilty of Crimes against Humanity under Article 172(1) of the Criminal Code of BiH.  The Court found several aggravating circumstances present in Kujundžić’s case, including Kujundžić’s status as a commander, the motives for the attack, the large number of victims, and the fact that the victim of rape and sexual slavery was a minor.  The Court accordingly sentenced Kujundžić to 22 years imprisonment.  A panel of the Appellate Division later reduced his prison sentence to 17 years.

Second instance verdict available in English here.



Prosecutor’s Office v. Ćerim Novalić Sudom Bosne i Hercegovine (Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2011)

Gender violence in conflict, Sexual violence and rape

In September 1992, during the Bosnian War, the Army of BiH attacked Serb houses in the village of Džepi.  During this assault, Ćerim Novalić and an unidentified soldier entered a home to see if the couple was hiding Serbs.  While the unidentified soldiers interrogated the husband about his neighbors of Serb ethnicity, Novalić forced the wife into an upstairs room and raped her.  In 2010, the Court of BiH found Novalić guilty of a War Crime against a Civilian under Article 173(1) of the CC BiH and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment.  The following year, a panel of the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH revised Novalić’s conviction, finding him guilty under Article 142(1) of the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the law in effect at the time of Novalić’s crime.  The Appellate Panel considered the “extremely humiliating manner” in which Novalić raped the victim – her underage children and mother-in-law were in an adjacent room and her husband was downstairs – and increased his sentence to eight years and six months imprisonment.  This is the upper-end of the typical prison sentence mandated by the Court of BiH for one count of rape during the Bosnian War.

Second revised verdict available in English here.



Prosecutor’s Office v. Veselin Vlahović Sudom Bosne i Hercegovine (Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2014)

Gender violence in conflict, Sexual violence and rape

Between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War, Veselin Vlahović a member of the Serbian paramilitary forces, committed various crimes against humanity against the civilian non-Serb population of Sarajevo, including murder, rape, physical and mental abuse, robbery, and enforced disappearance.  His crimes were so horrific that he was known by victims as the “Monster of Grbavica.”  In 2010, Vlahović was arrested in Spain and extradited to BiH.  In 2013, the Court of BiH found Vlahović guilty of sixty different crimes against humanity, including 35 murders and 11 rapes, as well as torture, imprisonment, and looting.  He was sentenced to forty-five years imprisonment.  In 2014, the Court of BiH acquitted Vlahović of one of the 60 counts of the indictment and reduced his prison sentence to 42 years.  Notably, Vlahović’s original prison sentence of 45 years was the maximum possible penalty and is the longest sentence handed down by the Bosnian war crimes court.

Second instance verdict available in English here.



Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Bogdanović Sudom Bosne i Hercegovine (Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2015)

Gender violence in conflict, Sexual violence and rape

In May 1993, during the Bosnian War, Velibor Bogdanović, a member of the Croatian Defence Council, and five unidentified soldiers ransacked the home of a couple in Mostar.  The group stole jewelry from the home and took the husband to the local prison where he was unlawfully detained for 30 days.  In addition, Bogdanović raped the wife.  In 2011, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“BiH”) found Bogdanović guilty of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 173(1), as read together with Article 180(1) and Article 29, of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“CC BiH”).  In July 2015, the Constitutional Court of BiH overturned Bogdanović’s conviction, finding that it had been based on an inapplicable law.  And in September 2015, the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH revised Bogdanović’s sentence, finding him guilty of the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 142(1) of the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.  The Court imposed the minimum sentence on Bogdanović – five years imprisonment – reasoning that the accused was a married father, that he had been 22-years-old at the time that he committed the crime, that he had committed no criminal offense since the war, and that he had apologized to the victim after the war and offered her assistance.

Revised second instance verdict in English available here.



Magerer v. Republic High Court of Kenya at Bomet (2016)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Harmful traditional practices

The appellant was convicted of (i) aiding the commission of female genital mutilation (“FGM)” on several girls, (ii) failing to report the commission of FGM, and (iii) allowing her premises to be used to perform FGM.  She pled guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to pay a fine of Kshs. 200,000 (or 3 years of imprisonment if she defaulted on the payment).  On appeal, she argued that the sentence was overly harsh and oppressive because she was a single mother of three children.  Justice M. Muya upheld her sentence, as it was the minimum allowed under the Female Genital Mutilation Act.  The Justice in this case noted that within this case “lies the clash between traditional values and the law of the land.”  Even though the appellant was abiding by a customary practice, it was in violation of Kenyan criminal law, and thus the appellate court upheld her sentence. 



Nduta v. Republic High Court of Kenya at Siaya (2015)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general, Harmful traditional practices

The appellant appealed his conviction and sentence for injuring his wife, who he inherited according to customary practice after her husband died in 2002.  On November 8, 2013, his wife attempted to pack clothes to visit her children in Nairobi.  The appellant refused to let his wife travel and threatened to murder her.  The appellant cut both of his wife’s arms using a panga (machete), but she managed to escape to her nephew’s home.  The nephew saw the appellant armed with the panga and a knife before taking his aunt to the police station and later the hospital.  The appellant was convicted of Grievous Harm Contrary to Section 234 of the Penal Code and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.  He appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to consider that this was a mere domestic issue that could have been resolved by village elders.  The appellant asked for a non-custodial sentence citing the fact he was an elderly man (78 years old).  The High Court upheld the conviction and the sentence, noting, “The appellant’s actions amounted to violence against women.  It is my view a gender-based violence which the court cannot condone or tolerate and let perpetrators of violence against women and girls go unpunished.”  This case demonstrates the relationship between the criminal courts in Kenya and customary law. 



A.M.L. v. Republic High Court of Kenya at Mombasa (2012)

Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was convicted of defilement for having intercourse numerous times with a 16-year-old, which is under the age of consent.  A.M.L. appealed his conviction and ten-year sentence on four grounds: (i) failure to conduct a voir dire examination on the victim before obtaining her testimony, (ii) failure to conduct a DNA test on the appellant, (iii) insufficiency of evidence, and (iv) the court’s failure to adequately consider his defense.  The State wished to enhance A.M.L.’s sentence on appeal.  The appellate court found that adequate evidence had been presented at trial that justified the charge of defilement.  However, the court found ten-year sentence imposed by the trial magistrate unlawful because 15 years is the legal mandatory minimum sentence for the defilement of a girl aged between 16 and 18 years.  Accordingly, AML’s sentence was enhanced to 15 years and his conviction upheld.



Republic v. C.W. High Court of Kenya at Siaya (2016)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The defendant was accused of the killing of her husband. She entered into a plea agreement to reduce the charge of murder to manslaughter.  The deceased returned home on May 7, 2016, intoxicated and accused the defendant of infidelity.  A violent domestic fight ensued and the defendant used a kitchen knife to fatally stab the deceased.  The defendant was also injured by the deceased during the altercation.  The defendant asked the court for a non-custodial sentence based on a number of mitigating circumstances including the fact that the defendant is the primary caregiver of her three children with the deceased, aged five, three, and one.  Relatives and friends of the deceased confirmed that he was verbally and physically abusive to the defendant and the killing occurred in “the heat of the moment.”  Furthermore, the defendant had no prior record, demonstrated remorse, and the deceased’s family and the community had forgiven her and were willing to help her raise her children.  The High Court agreed that these factors merited a non-custodial status, adding that the defendant is both the accused and the victim, and was acting in self-defense even though she used excessive force.  The High Court handed down a three-year non-custodial sentence.  This case marks an important example of Kenyan courts treating victims of domestic violence with leniency where excessive force is used while defending themselves from their abuser.



Mwape v. The People Supreme Court of Zambia (2012)

Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was charged with defilement contrary to Section 138 of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia (unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 16 years) and was sentenced to the minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment. On behalf of the appellant, the appeal was filed on two grounds. On ground one, it was contended that the Court had erred in law by deciding not to conduct a voir dire and proceeding to receive the sworn evidence of a child. On ground two, it was contended the court below erred by finding corroboration and concluding the appellant was guiltywwww. Relative to the first grounds, the Court held that, while there had been no voir dire and while the Magistrate had failed to inquire as to whether the child understood the nature of the oath, this did not necessitate a re-trial, given that such orders are typically discretionary and this was not the only evidence tendered at trial. Relative to the second grounds, the Court observed that the question of identity was not in dispute and that there was substantial corroborative evidence that the crime had been committed. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the grounds lacked merit, as the Court was competent to convict the appellant even without the victim’s evidence. The Court further noted that the crime was compounded by the breach of trust that the appellant (who was the prosecutrix’s step-grandfather and exercising parental responsibility over her at the time) had committed against the victim and, therefore, set aside the 15-year minimum sentence in favor of a 20-year hard labour sentence. 



Miloslav v. The People Supreme Court for Zambia (2014)

Sexual violence and rape

The appellant was charged with the offence of indecent assault on a female contrary to Section 137(1) of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The victim worked for the appellant as a maid when she was indecently assaulted. The appellant advanced four grounds of appeal: (i) the trial court erred when (i) it found the appellant had a case to answer at the close of the prosecution’s case; (ii) it convicted the appellant of the offence in the absence of corroborative evidence; (iii) the trial court erred when it convicted the appellant on the evidence of the victim who suffered from unsoundness of mind without satisfying itself that the victim understood the nature of an oath and was capable of giving rational testimony; and, (iv) it held that the findings in the medical report supported the prosecution’s evidence and when it held that the appellant had corroborated the evidence of the victim when he admitted touching the victim. The Court dismissed all grounds for appeal on the following bases: (i) the Court was satisfied that the victim’s testimony was presented in a very coherent manner and that the three ingredients of the offence had been established and that the victim’s testimony was not discredited at all; (ii) there was medical evidence which corroborated the crime as well as evidence that the victim did not consent to the indecent assault; (iii) the victim’s testimony was very consistent and was given with ‘lucid clarity’, therefore there was nothing in the victim’s testimony that could have compelled the trial court to conduct a voir dire; and, (iv) there was medical evidence which corroborated the victim’s testimony and there was no evidence of a romantic relationship between the parties which would indicate consent. Further, the Court held that, because of the ‘master and servant’ nature of the relationship, the minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment was inappropriate and should be set aside and replaced by a sentence of 20 years imprisonment with hard labor effective from the date of conviction.



The People v. Mugala High Court for Zambia (2012)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The accused was charged with one count of rape contrary to Sections 132 and 133 of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The accused denied the charge. However, following the trial (during which the prosecution called five witnesses, and after considering the evidence of the accused which was given on oath), the trial magistrate found the accused guilty and convicted him of the subject offence. The case was then remitted to the High Court for sentencing pursuant to Section 217 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia. Before passing any sentence, the Court was required to satisfy itself that the relevant legal and procedural provisions had been observed by the trial court. The Court held that there was medical evidence in support of the violent nature of the act as well as other corroborative evidence, such as the distressed state of the victim when she reported the act.  Furthermore, the Court concluded there was sufficient evidence in support of the identification of the accused by the victim including the trial magistrate’s finding that the victim was a truthful witness. On the totality of the evidence, the High Court held that the trial judge’s finding of guilt and the conviction was ‘anchored on firm ground’ and, therefore, concluded that it should be upheld. The High Court sentenced the accused to 25 years imprisonment with hard labor effective from the date of arrest.



Sikazwe v. The People Supreme Court for Zambia (2012)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was charged with incest contrary to Section 159(1) of the Penal Code but was convicted of the lesser charge of indecent assault contrary to Section 137(1) as amended by Act No. 15 of 2005, Cap 871, as the medical evidence ‘left a lot to be desired’ (as described by the Magistrate). However, when the matter was sent to the High Court for sentencing, the sentencing judge substituted the charge of indecent assault with incest and sentenced the appellant to 20 years imprisonment with hard labor. The appellant appealed this conviction and sentence on the basis that the Magistrate “erred in law and fact when he tried and convicted the appellant without the Director of Public Prosecutions’ consent.” In support of this argument, the appellant noted that the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions were to try the appellant for rape not incest. Therefore, in the absence of express consent by the Director of Public Prosecutions as required by Section 164 of the Penal Code, Cap 871, the trial court had jurisdiction neither to hear the matter nor to proceed to convict the appellant on indecent assault and sentence him to 20-year term for incest. The Supreme Court reviewed the letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions and noted that, while the first paragraph gave the impression that he had sanctioned the prosecution to go ahead with the charge of incest, the remainder of the letter made it clear that he had also sanctioned the appellant’s prosecution on a charge of either rape or defilement. The Supreme Court also noted that the latter could potentially enable a conviction of indecent assault under the relevant provisions of the Penal Code. Thus, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Director of Public Prosecutions rightly guided the prosecution and the court below to invoke whichever of these provisions as necessary. Moreover, the Supreme Court stated that the Magistrate rightly concluded that ‘the medical evidence left a lot to be desired.’ Ultimately, it concluded that the appellant was not guilty of the offence of rape, but that he was guilty of the offence of indecent assault contrary to Section 137 of the Penal Code and that the sentencing judge was mistaken to sentence the appellant for incest. The Supreme Court quashed the incest conviction, but still upheld the conviction for indecent assault and imposed a 20-year prison sentence.



Habeenzu v. The People Supreme Court for Zambia (2012)

Sexual violence and rape

The appellant was charged in the Subordinate Court of attempted rape contrary to Section 137 of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The statement of offence read defilement, contrary to Section 138 of the Penal Code. The appellant was convicted of indecent assault, a minor offence per Section 181(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The appellant appealed on two grounds. First, the statement of offence was defective, as (i) it did not specify the offence by section and subsection of the provision of the law contravened, and (ii) it was amended late which was unjust. Second, on the available evidence, a court could not have properly convicted appellant for attempted rape or indecent assault because the allegation of attempted rape impliedly includes both an allegation of assault and of indecency; on the facts, there was only an element of indecency (and not assault). The Supreme Court rejected both grounds of appeal on the basis that: (i), indecent assault, attempted rape, rape and defilement are offences of the same genus and therefore a defendant charged with attempted rape may be convicted of a lesser related charge like indecent assault; (ii) the appellant had an opportunity to defend himself in relation to the alternative charge, so there was no constitutional violation of the fairness of the trial; and (iii) the findings of fact were in accordance with the evidence on the record, as the appellant was ‘caught in the act’ and there was medical evidence of injuries sustained by the victim. Accordingly, there was no reason to interfere with the findings of fact or the minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment imposed by the sentencing judge. The Court dismissed the appeal.



Police v. Apelu Supreme Court of Samoa (2010)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, International law

A women inmate at Tafaigata Prison who was two months pregnant asked the defendant to abort the fetus using a duck speculum and uterine sound instrument while she was on weekend parole.  Upon returning to the prison and complaining of severe pain, the woman was rushed to the hospital, where she delivered a live, premature female infant.  The baby died of respiratory failure as a result of extreme prematurity and neonatal sepsis; the medical report stated that the instruments used by the defendant had infected the victim’s uterus and induced labor.  In 2004, she had been sentenced to two and one-half years for the same offense.  Although the charges were not prosecuted at the time, they were revisited in 2005 and a year was added to the defendant’s sentence.  The sentencing judge in the case considered the defendant’s record of recent convictions as aggravating factors.  While the maximum sentence for this offence is seven years, the court considered that it warranted a starting point of six and a half years.  The only mitigating factor in the defendant’s favor was her guilty plea, which avoided the necessity of a full trial, for which twelve months were deducted from her sentence.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether the Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW ought to be considered in sentencing.  In the course of answering such question in the negative, the judge was clear in relying solely upon national legislation: “This country through its elected representatives namely Parliament has chosen to take a pro-life stand and have legislated against abortion except when it is necessary to preserve the life of the mother.  Parliament having enacted that law, the courts duty is beyond question, it is required to enforce the laws of the land.  The rightness, wrongness or morality of such a law is debated in the building next door, not in this one.”  The fact that Samoa continues to criminalize abortion after ratifying international conventions evinces clear legislative intent against domesticating CEDAW through specific legislation.



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 Alejandro Candia Criminal Appeals Court (2011)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Two minor children, an eight-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old girl, were raped by their father, once and multiple times over several years, respectively.  The defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the Criminal Appeals Court reduced the sentence to 19.6 years in prison on October 11, 2001, after finding that the 20-year sentence was impermissible under Paraguay’s sentencing guidelines.



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 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.



Case of Derlis Mauro Rodríguez Rojas Criminal Appeals Court (2002)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The child victim was sexually abused by Derlis Mauro Rodriguez.  The parents of the victim stated that the child was found with the defendant in an abandoned house while he was touching her.  Medical reports confirmed the defendant had been sexually abusing the victim.  The defendant was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, which was confirmed by the Criminal Appeals Court on April 16, 2002.



Case of Florencio Arias, et al. Criminal Appeals Court (2003)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

A nine-year-old girl was sexually abused by her father, Florencio Arias, on several occasions.  The defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which was confirmed by the Criminal Appeals Court on April 25, 2003.



Rex v. Shongwe High Court (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The 54-year-old accused pleaded guilty to culpable homicide based on allegations that she unlawfully poured boiling water on her husband. He refused to seek medical attention for his injuries because he was embarrassed and he died six days later. The Court ordered a suspended sentence because the accused “had been and was being” viciously attacked by her husband and was escaping his attack. The Court based its judgment on a finding that there was a combination of extenuating factors present, including that the accused suffered from battered wife syndrome, the needs of the six remaining minor children for whom the accused is the sole caretaker and provider, that the accused had already served two years imprisonment before she was released on bail, and the deceased’s refusal to go to the hospital for treatment for fear of being ridiculed by other men.



Kayira v. State High Court of Malawi (2015)

Statutory rape or defilement

In 2013, the appellant, 24-year-old Matthews Kyria, was found having sexual intercourse with the victim, Sarah K., who was 15 years old. The next day the victim admitted that she had been having sexual relations with the appellant since June 2011. Malawi charged the defendant with defilement contrary to § 138(1) and indecent assault contrary to § 137(1), both of Malawi’s Penal Code. Section 138(1) provides, “Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of sixteen years shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable to imprisonment to life” (¶ 7.1). In the lower court, the appellant pleaded not guilty arguing that the victim consented to the sexual acts and that she showed him an identification card that she had doctored to state that she was 17 years old at the time. The lower court found the appellant guilty on both counts. The appellant filed two grounds of appeal asking: (i) “whether the conviction of the appellant was proper with regard . . . to the circumstances of the case;” and; (ii) “whether the sentences were manifestly excessive considering the” fact the victim had mislead the appellant with respect to her age (¶ 3.1). The High Court upheld the conviction citing the strict liability nature of the crime. The Court noted that the victim was clearly underage at the time of the sexual intercourse and rejected the defendant’s consent defense noting that “girls under the age of . . . [sixteen] are incapable of giving consent due to immaturity (¶ 7.4).” Notwithstanding, the Court reduced the appellant’s sentence to four years for defilement and one year for indecent assault to run concurrently, noting that the appellant did not know that the victim was under age.



Mugasa v. Uganda Court of Appeal at Kampala (2010)

Statutory rape or defilement

This appeal was limited to sentencing only. Appellant was convicted of defilement of a baby girl and was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment. Appellant was a relative of the child and was known as a teacher of Christianity. Appellant requested a more lenient sentence of 10 years. The Court of Appeals ruled against Appellant and increased his sentence to 25 years, citing the policy consideration that, despite the fact that defilement can be punishable by death, individuals still continue to defile babies. Thus, the court used this case as an opportunity to send a message to society that “violating the rights of child females must stop.”



Kalibobo v. Uganda Court of Appeal at Kampala (2001)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The trial court sentenced the 25-year-old Appellant to 17 years in prison after finding him guilty of raping a 70-year-old widow from a neighboring village.  The trial court rejected the defense that he was not in her village at the time of the rape.  The trial court found that in November 1998 the Appellant broke into the home of the victim, who confronted him with a panga (machete).  While raping her after disarming her, the victim called out and the Appellant, worried about being caught, fled with her panga.  The police found the panga in his home the next day and he was arrested.  The Appellant contested his sentence, arguing that it was manifestly harsh because he has a wife, two children, and two young brothers to care for.  The State contended that the sentence was appropriate because of the victim’s age and family circumstances.  The standard for appellate court interference is a sentence that is “manifestly excessive or low in view of the circumstances of the case.”  The Court noted that the crime of rape, particularly the rape of “grandmothers,” is prevalent in the area and very serious.  The Court held “[t]he appellant raped an old lady.  That was bad.  However, considering all the circumstances of the case, we think that a sentence of 17 years imprisonment was manifestly so excessive as to cause a miscarriage of justice” and reduced the sentence to seven years.  



Uganda v. Kamuhanda High Court at Fort Portal (2014)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The accused was charged with murdering his father.  The accused’s mother testified that her husband, the deceased, repeatedly physically abused his wife and children.  After a day of drinking, the deceased chased his wife and children out of the house.  The deceased’s wife went to see her older son, Muhwezi.  Muhwezi took his mother to the local council chairman, who took her to the police.  After the police refused to do anything, the deceased’s wife and children spent the night at the local council chairman’s home.  The deceased was found dead in the family home the next morning.  Muhwezi confessed that he argued with his father and killed him in self-defense.  The prosecutor requested at least 40 years imprisonment, but the Court, citing researched on the effects of long-term domestic violence, sentenced the accused to two years imprisonment.



Rex v. Latsi High Court of Lesotho (2007)

Sexual violence and rape

While considering the appeal of a rape conviction, the High Court condemned the trial court’s failure to punish the defendant in accordance with the severity of his crime. The Court found that where a trial court finds sufficient evidence of rape, the sentence should be more than a mere “slap on the wrist.”  The court stated that “rape is always serious even without aggravating circumstances” because the victim’s “virginity has been assaulted and undoubtedly her dignity and reputation have been compromised blighting her prospects for marriage” (p. 1). The Court found that those factors should always be considered before a sentence is imposed. The Court affirmed the conviction and increased the defendant’s prison sentence from five to ten years.  



Rex v. Lenyolosa High Court of Lesotho (2003)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant was convicted for sexual assault and attempted rape of his 16-year-old niece. The appellate court upheld the conviction, but overturned the sentence imposed by the trial court. The appellate court held that the lower court failed to consider aggravating factors, including the close relationship between the parties. Given the prevalence of sexual assault in Lesotho, the court determined that jail sentences needed to serve as a deterrent for both the perpetrator and the general public.  According to the court, “a very loud and clear message must be sent to all those who consider themselves with power and right to abuse or rape girls and women, that they will be dealt with the seriousness their unlawful actions demand” (p. 5).  The Court sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment with one year suspended for five years, unless the defendant commits another violent offense.



Washington v. Hodgins Court of Appeals of Washington Third Division (2015)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Hodgins had repeated misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence when the state of Washington brought charges against him for violating an order of protection on seven different occasions. Hodgins pled guilty to two of the seven counts of domestic violence, but the court did not include his prior misdemeanor convictions in its calculation of his offender status for purposes of sentencing. The Court of Appeals found that, under the facts of the case and relevant Washington law, Hodgins should have received an extra point on his offender status for any prior repetitive domestic violence offenses. Accordingly, the trial court erred in failing to consider his convictions in determining his offender status at sentencing. The Court of Appeals remanded the case for sentencing with a higher offender status.



RO v. R Supreme Court of New South Wales (Court of Criminal Appeal) (2013)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

This case concerns the sentencing of a sexual offender. The offender was convicted of eight counts of sexual intercourse and indecent assault against a sixteen year old girl. The defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that the judge erred in his determination that the victim “suffered significant psychological damage as a result of the offense.” On appeal, the Court found that the lower court erred in making the finding of “substantial” harm. The Court further held that the victim’s “psychological damage was multifactorial and that in the absence of medical evidence which separated out the effects of these offences,” the lower court’s determination of substantial psychological harm resulting from the offenses was inappropriate.



R v. Hamid Supreme Court of New South Wales (Court of Criminal Appeal) (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Respondent in this case faced a prison term of two years and six months based on his convictions for 9 counts of serious domestic violence offenses. The Respondent was also ordered to refrain from any harassment or threatening conduct toward the victims (or those in domestic relationships with the victims) for ten years. In response to the sentencing of the Respondent, “the Crown submitted that the sentences imposed upon the Respondent were manifestly inadequate.” The Crown noted that “a number of individual sentences were themselves inadequate given the objective seriousness of the crimes involved.” The Court emphasized the importance of both specific and general deterrence for domestic violence offenses and noted “[r]ecognition of the harm done to the victim and the community as a result of crimes of domestic violence is important.” The Court ultimately held that “the sentences imposed upon the Respondent were manifestly inadequate” and resentenced the Respondent.



Public Prosecutor v. Besar Bin Ahmad Intermediate Court of Brunei (1996)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to raping a 16 year old female, punishable under section 376(1) of the Penal Code, and the alternative charge of attempted rape, punishable under section 376(2) of the Penal Code. The court was satisfied that the complainant’s complaint to her mother was made by her at the earliest possible moment, which was consistent with her complaint to the police and other evidence, therefore corroborating the complainant’s evidence. The court found the complainant credible, and accepted her evidence indicating that she did not consent. In addition, the complainant was examined by a doctor, who found numerous injuries and concluded in her report that there was some injury to the complainant’s vulva, which may be due to attempted sexual intercourse. The court found, however, that the doctor did not seem sure whether penetration occurred. Regarding whether there was penetration, the court found the complainant’s evidence unreliable, and therefore reasonable doubt. The court convicted the defendant of attempted rape and voluntarily causing hurt. The court imposed sentences of 10 years imprisonment and 12 strokes.



Public Prosecutor v. Abdullah Bin HJ Yakub High Court of Brunei (1991)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to two charges of raping a 14 year old female, under sections 376(1) and (2) of the Penal Code, and having carnal knowledge of a female under the age of 16 years, under Section 2 of the Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Act, Cap. 29. The fact of sexual intercourse was not disputed. However, because the complainant was under 14 years old when the offences occurred, her consent was not relevant to the charge of rape. Nonetheless, because of her consent, the defendant was acquitted of the charge of aggravated rape. The court convicted the defendant of rape, and imposed a sentence of four years imprisonment and six strokes. The court also convicted the defendant of having carnal knowledge of a female under the age of 16 years, and imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment and six strokes. The sentences of imprisonment were concurrent, with the defendant to serve four years total. The sentences of whipping were consecutive, with the defendant to receive 12 strokes total.



Public Prosecutor v. Billy Metussin High Court of Brunei (1993)

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

The defendant pleaded not guilty to one charge of attempted rape of an 11 years and 10 months old female, under section 376(1) of the Penal Code. The court found that the complainant gave different versions as to the events that occurred. It found the complainant’s evidence unreliable. The court concluded that the complainant was the initiator of the events that led to the attempted intercourse. The court found that there was an attempt at sexual intercourse. In view of medical evidence that revealed that the hymen was intact and that ejaculation may have occurred outside the complainant, the court found doubt as to whether penetration occurred. The court highlighted that consent was not a defense to rape as the complainant was under the age of 14 at the time at issue. Nonetheless, consent becomes relevant to punishment, as a minimum sentence is prescribed for rape which occurs “without the consent of the victim”. The court found that the complainant gave her consent to the defendant’s attempt to have sexual intercourse with her and that she gave a real consent, not vitiated by immaturity or by any of the other factors specified in section 90 P.C. The court convicted the defendant of attempted rape and imposed sentences of one year imprisonment and three strokes.



Public Prosecutor v. HJ Bidin Din HJ MD Noor High Court of Brunei (1995)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to five charges of rape of an approximately 13 year old female, under section 376 of the Penal Code. The court emphasized that these were rapes only because of the complainant’s age, not because any force was used against her. The court noted that the fact that a rape is committed with consent does not lower the standard of proof which is required of the act itself. The court reasoned that it would be dangerous to convict in reliance on the complainant’s evidence, which had several inconsistencies. Additionally, the testimony of an examining doctor showed that the complainant’s evidence was suspect. The complainant denied having had sexual intercourse with anyone in the date range at issue, which did not agree with the evidence of the examining doctor, which the court accepted. The court found that if she cannot be believed as to that, it could not rely on her uncorroborated evidence on any of the charges. The defendant was acquitted of all five charges and the court ordered his discharge.



Public Prosecutor v. Sapar Bin Badau Intermediate Court of Brunei (1995)

Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant was charged with two charges of rape of his daughter, under section 375 of the Penal Code. According to the complainant, her father first raped her when she was 12 years old and he raped her about 9 to 12 times in a month. The court found that the evidence did not support the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by the defendant, and that her evidence was uncorroborated. The court further found that the complainant had not been telling the truth in several instances, which made her evidence questionable. The court highlighted that, although the complainant claimed she was raped about 500 times by her father since 1989, nobody ever saw the parties together in one of their rooms, nor the complainant in a distressed condition. The court found it dangerous to convict the defendant by relying solely on the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant. The court acquitted the defendant of the two charges and discharged him.



Public Prosecutor v. Mohd Tamin Bin HJ Ahmad Intermediate Court of Brunei (1995)

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

The defendant pleaded not guilty to three charges consisting of (i) attempted rape, under section 376 of the Penal Code, (ii) causing harm, under section 323 of the Penal Code, and (iii) theft of personal property, under section 379 of the Penal Code. The court found the complainant credible, and her version of the events consistent with a note she wrote shortly after the incident and her evidence in court, despite minor discrepancies and details left out in the note. On the contrary, the court found the defendant’s version far-fetched and unacceptable. Corroborating evidence for the complainant included her distressed condition as observed by a witness immediately after the incident, her note, the injuries a doctor found on her and the discovery of her torn underwear on the road-side. The court found that the defendant made an effort to have sexual intercourse with the complainant against her will and without her consent. The court convicted the defendant of (i) attempted rape, with a sentence of six years imprisonment and four strokes, (ii) causing hurt, with a sentence of one month imprisonment and (iii) theft, with a sentence of three months imprisonment. The sentences were to run concurrently.



Public Prosecutor v. Zulkifli Bin Sabang Intermediate Court of Brunei (1993)

Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to three charges of rape of a 12 year old female, under section 376 of the Penal Code. The complainant alleged that the defendant penetrated her on all three occasions. However, with regard to the first and second occasions, the complainant’s evidence was uncorroborated. As the court was not prepared to convict in the absence of evidence of penetration, the defendant was acquitted on both the first and second charges. The court accepted that there was some corroboration on the third charge, including a DNA report in connection with a pregnancy and an ‘admission’ by the defendant made to a witness who the court found truthful. The court believed the complainant that she did not consent to the sexual intercourse with the defendant, noting that because consent is not defense to a rape of an individual under the age of 14 years, the complainant’s consent was relevant only to the sentencing. The court held that the third charge was proven beyond reasonable doubt against the defendant and convicted him accordingly. The court imposed a sentence of nine years imprisonment with 14 strokes.



Republic v Arawaia Court of Appeal of Kiribati (2013)

Sexual violence and rape

Mr. Arawaia plead guilty to indecent assault and defilement involving the repeated rape of the 12 year old grand daughter of his wife. When the girl told her grandmother, Mr. Arawaia’s wife, of the rapes, Mr. Arawaia apologized. Later Mar. Arawaia wanted the victim to sleep with him, and the victim’s grandmother told her to do so. The victim was again raped by Mr. Arawaia. The High Court, in sentencing Mr. Arawaia, considered Mr. Arawaia’s early plea, the seriousness of the case, and also Mr. Arawaia’s apology to the girl. Ms. Beiatau, arguing for the Republic, appealed on the grounds that the sentence was manifestly inadequate. Ms. Beiatau argued that due to the rising prevalence of sexual offences in Kiribati, sentencing guidelines were needed. She further contended that the High Court erred in considering Mr. Arawaia’s apology to the girl a mitigating factor. Relying on Kimaere v The Republic, a Kiribati Court of Appeal decision from 2005, and sentencing standards set in New Zealand and Australia, the Kiribati Court of Appeal found that a five year prison sentence was an appropriate starting point in defilement cases. The Court noted that where multiple offenses are considered, it is more important to proportion the entire length of the sentence to the entirety of the defendants conduct, rather than worrying about adding together the sentences for each offense. Determining that Mr. Arawaia’s conduct justified a prison sentence of seven to eight years, the Court then discounted his sentence, for his early plea, to an increased total of five years. The Court found Mr. Arawaia’s apology to have been incorrectly considered a mitigating factor. The Court also held that the starting point for the indecent assault charges would have been two and a half years before discounting for mitigating factors



Public Prosecutor v. Khairul Bin Haji Dagang Intermediate Court of Brunei (1994)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to two charges of rape of a 14 year old female and a 24 year old female, under section 376 of the Penal Code. Regarding the first charge, the court accepted the first complainant’s evidence. Corroboration that she did not consent included fresh abrasions found by a doctor on the defendant’s arms and chest, the crying and distress of said complainant as observed by several witnesses very soon after the incident and the promptness of the complaints made by her. The court held the defendant guilty of having sexual intercourse with said complainant against her will or without her consent, imposing a sentence of seven years imprisonment and six strokes. The court also accepted the second complainant’s evidence. Corroboration that she did not consent included her sad condition and her crying as observed by a witness immediately after the incident, and the complaints she made to said witness, her mother, brother and the police. The court found that the defendant said threatening words which had put her in fear of death or hurt. The court held the defendant guilty of aggravated rape of said complainant, imposing a sentence of nine years imprisonment and 14 strokes. The sentences as to each rape were to run consecutively.



Jerome Arscott v. R Court of Appeals of Jamaica (2014)

Sexual violence and rape

A young woman was sexually assaulted by a male police officer who encountered the woman while he was picking fruit behind her house. The officer followed the woman into her home, where he exposed his genitals and attempted to penetrate the woman’s vagina despite her resistance. Afterwards, the woman successfully identified him in an identification parade and he was subsequently charged with the offences of assault with intent to rape and indecent assault, for which he was convicted at trial and sentenced to nine months hard labor imprisonment. At sentencing, the trial judge found that the aggravating nature of the sexual offence outweighed the defendant’s mitigating circumstances, such as his status as a police officer. The officer appealed the sentence on the ground, inter alia, that his sentence was manifestly excessive and ought to have been non-custodial. The Court of Appeal dismissed the officer’s appeal because it agreed with the trial judge’s balancing approach, and noted that the maximum penalty that could have been imposed was three years of hard labor imprisonment. Moreover, the Court agreed with the trial judge’s statement that to a impose a non-custodial sentence for a case of sexual assault against a woman would send a wrong signal to both members of the police force and the general population in a society, such as Jamaica, where gender-based violence is prevalent.



Public Prosecutor v. Intol Bin Langgar Intermediate Court of Brunei (1993)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant was charged with two charges of rape of the complainant, a 14 year old female, punishable under section 376(1) of the Penal Code, and two charges of unlawful carnal knowledge with a girl under 16 years old, an offence under section 2 of the Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Act (Cap. 29). DNA and other forensic evidence indicated that the defendant was the biological father of the complainant’s child. While that evidence alone could not prove rape, the complainant’s evidence, consisting largely of her testimony, was found credible despite minor discrepancies in the testimony of her various witnesses. The court held that the prosecution had proved beyond the reasonable doubt the four charges against the defendant, and he was accordingly convicted. The court sentenced the defendant to 10 years imprisonment on the first and second charge, and four years imprisonment on the third and fourth charge, to run concurrently. A total sentence of imprisonment was 10 years was imposed.



Public Prosecutor v. Yaha Bin Mansor High Court of Brunei (1991)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The defendant pleaded not guilty to (i) two charges of attempted rape and (ii) two charges of rape, punishable under section 376 of the Penal Code. The prosecution withdrew the fourth charge during the trial. The court noted that since the complainant was under the age of 14 at the time of each alleged incident, her consent was not relevant. As the court found no corroboration of the complainant’s evidence, it had to rely upon her credibility. The court found that the complainant was exaggerating when she claimed that the defendant attempted to rape her. The court did not agree that he did more than commit an act of indecency under Section 354 P.C., which contains the offence of assault or criminal force used on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty. The court acquitted the defendant of attempted rape and rape, but convicted him of the offence of indecency for all three charges. He was sentenced to three years and four strokes for each of the three charges, which are cumulative and consecutive sentences. The defendant was ordered to serve a total of nine years and suffer a total of 12 strokes, with a reduction for time already spent in custody.



Tirivanhu Ndoziva v. The State High Court of Zimbabwe (2011)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

The appellant was convicted of two counts of rape for allegedly raping two girls, aged 4 and 8 years, respectively. He was sentenced to 10 years on each count, with five years suspended for five years on condition of good behavior. The appellant appealed against the convictions and the sentences. It was accepted that the two girls were sexually interfered with, which both confirmed through testimony. Both girls were (i) examined by a doctor, who observed attenuation of the hymen and a deep notch on both girls and (ii) able to identify the appellant as the perpetrator to the police. The court was satisfied with the identification, finding that the appellant was correctly convicted. The appellant argued that the sentence was too harsh. The court found that numerous factors were considered before sentencing. It held that the appellant did not use gratuitous violence, and was entitled to some leniency. The court ruled that the sentence imposed was unduly harsh and induced a sense of shock. The sentence was overturned and substituted for 10 years imprisonment, with two years suspended for five years on condition the appellant does not within this period commit any offence of a sexual nature for which he is sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.



Decision No. 1028 k/PID SUS/2009 Supreme Court of Indonesia (2009)

Gender-based violence in general, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

The defendant paid his friend to bring the victim, a 14-year-old child, to defendant’s café under the pretext of attending a birthday party. After defendant’s friend abandoned the victim at the café, the defendant told the victim to work as a server but also forced her to have sex with the male clients and kept all payments received for the victim’s services. Because the defendant used fraud to bring the victim to the café and exploited the victim by forcing her to act as a sex worker for profit, the Court of First Instance found the defendant guilty of human trafficking under section 2(1) of Law No. 21 of 2007 and sentenced the defendant to 10 years imprisonment with a fine of Rp. 120,000,000. The High Court upheld the lower court’s decision but amended the defendant’s sentence to seven years imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant argued that the High Court’s sentence of seven years was an error since the court did not consider that the victim had stayed with the defendant’s friend before coming to the café and therefore the health and condition of the victim may have worsened before coming to the defendant. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court and did not rule on the sentencing since it was a “judex facti matter (question of fact of the case)”.



United States v. Cortes-Castro, 511 Fed. Appx. 942 (11th Cir. 2013) Court of Appeals Eleventh District (2013)

Sexual violence and rape, Trafficking in persons

After the Department of Homeland Security learned that Ernesto, Alberto and Israel Cortes Castro, were smuggling women from Mexico into the U.S. for forced prostitution, they were charged with conspiring to traffic women for prostitution by force or coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c) and other substantive trafficking crimes. The Defendants plead guilty to the conspiring charge in exchange for the dismissal of the other charges. The factual proffer submitted with the plea agreements stated that the Defendants agreed to establish a sex-trafficking business in the U.S. in which women would be transported from Mexico and prostituted in exchange for money. It also detailed the methods employed by the Defendants to defraud, force and coerce women into prostitution. The district court accepted the plea agreements and sentenced the Defendants to 180 months of imprisonment, an upward variation from the 108-135 month range provided by the advisory guidelines. According to the district court, the upward variation was justified by the “unusually heinous, cruel, brutal and degrading” nature of their conduct. Additionally, the court ordered the Defendants to pay $1,239,200 in restitution losses to the victims. On appeal, the Defendants challenged the upward variation and the restitution award. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that the district court had not abused its discretion by sentencing the Defendants to terms 45 months over the advisory guidelines range because they had “enslaved, demeaned and debased immigrant women” forcing them into prostitution for several years and subjecting them to mental, physical and emotional abuse. The Court further held that the district court reasonably determined that an upward variation was required to address the “abhorrent nature” of the crimes. Finally, the Court held that the district court did not err in granting the restitution award because the victims were statutorily entitled to compensation and such award was based on factual information in the factual proffer and the presentencing report.



Hara v. The People Supreme Court for Zambia (2014)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The Defendant, Hara, broke into the house of a twelve-year-old girl, forced her down and raped her. He pleaded guilty to defilement, a crime with the sentence of fifteen years to life imprisonment, and was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment with hard labor. Hara appealed the sentence on the grounds that (1) thirty years was too severe absent any aggravating circumstances (i.e. the victim did not sustain any physical injuries, become infected with a sexually transmitted disease or become pregnant) and (2) the lower court did not take into account mitigating circumstances (i.e. the defendant was a first time offender who readily plead guilty). Reasoning that “young girls are no longer safe even in their homes”, the Supreme Court rejected the Hara’s arguments that the absence of factors, such as physical injuries and pregnancy, should reduce his sentence. The Supreme Court further held that the lower court properly considered the Hara’s status as a first time offender, and therefore, the Supreme Court upheld his thirty-year sentence.



The People v. Nyambe High Court of Zambia (2010)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Defendant, Mr. Nyambe, and the victim, Mrs. Nyambe, were married. Upon return from a fishing trip, Mr. Nyambe found Mrs. Nyambe in bed with another man and reacted by beating the other man. One month later, Mrs. Nyambe revealed that the reason she committed adultery was because Mr. Nyambe “was not a real man,” whereupon the two began to fight, and Mr. Nyambe struck Mrs. Nyambe with an axe and killed her. Despite the one month that had elapsed between the initial discovery of the adultery and the murder, the High Court found that the adultery still constituted provocation. However, under Zambian law, a murder defendant’s reaction must bear a reasonable relationship to the provocation to invoke that affirmative defense to reduce the conviction to manslaughter. The High Court found that the Defendant’s retaliation of striking his wife with an axe was not proportional to the provocation and convicted him of murder.



Rape Defined As Heinous Crime for Sentencing Purposes: Habeas Corpus No. 81.288-1 (in Portuguese) Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (2003)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal or “STF”) denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus of Valdemiro Gutz, who had been convicted by the Superior Court of Justice – Santa Catarina of raping his two, minor daughters, both under the age of fourteen, over a period of five years. Although Gutz had been sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in jail for his crimes, the lower court subsequently reduced Gutz’s sentence by one-quarter, pursuant to Presidential Decree 3.226/99 (“Decree”). The lower court determined that the reduction was not barred by Article 7, Section 1 of the Decree, which states that a reprieve shall not apply to those convicted of “heinous crimes and those of torture, terrorism, illegal trafficking.” In response to the reduced sentence, the public prosecutor argued that Gutz’ crime fell within the “heinous crimes” exception to sentence reductions. The Service of Criminal Review of the State of Santa Catarina subsequently filed for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that crimes of rape and sexual assault do not fall within the scope of the “heinous crimes” exception except where serious bodily injury or fatality results. The Court examined the legislative language and treatment of rape, sexual assault, and other crimes, with respect to qualifying such crimes as “heinous.” The majority of the Court held that the legislation already had classified rape as a heinous crime. The Court denied the writ, and Gutz’s sentence remained without reduction.



Jan Oompie Kolea v. The State Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa (2012)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

Mr. Kolea was convicted of repeatedly raping a woman with another man and sentenced to 15 years in prison under s 51(2) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 (the Act). When Mr. Kolea appealed the ruling and the sentence it was found that his conviction should in fact be read under s 51(1) of the Act which imposes a minimum sentence of life in prison when the victim was raped more than once by more than one person. Mr. Kolea was duly sentenced to life in prison and his appeal was dismissed. This case broke a previous trend of judges neglecting to impose life sentences under s 51(1), instead giving lighter sentences under s 51(2) even in the case of multiple rapes. The real threat of life imprisonment is a crucial precedent to set in South Africa, where rape is common and often overlooked or punished with leniency.



Tumwesigye Kasim v. Uganda Court of Appeals of Uganda (2009)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

This appeal was limited to sentencing only. Appellant was convicted of defilement of a six-year-old girl and was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Appellant was a teacher at the victim’s school. The school held a special program for students during school holidays. During this program, appellant took the victim into his office at school and had sexual intercourse with her. Despite his warning not to tell anyone, the victim told her brother, who told her parents. A medical examiner confirmed that she had been defiled. On appeal, appellant argued that the sentence of 14 years was too harsh. In support, he argued that he was the sole breadwinner for 11 dependents, including two lame dependents and four orphans. Appellant also argued that since the victim was a very young child, she had already gotten over the trauma of the defilement. The court upheld the sentence and ruled against appellant. The court found that, as a teacher, he had a duty to protect the victim, but instead chose to ravish her, disgracing himself, his profession, and society.



Mushabe Abdul v. Uganda Court of Appeals of Uganda (2007)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Appellant was convicted of defilement of a four-year-old girl. The victim was sent to a well to fetch water for her family. On the victim’s way to the well, appellant grabbed the victim, threw her to the ground, and forcibly had sexual intercourse with her. He then fled but was later arrested. At trial, appellant denied the charges and claimed that the victim’s father had framed him. The trial court rejected his claim and sentenced him to 14 years imprisonment. On appeal, appellant requested a sentence reduction from 14 years to eight years. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal, holding that the 14-year sentence was not inappropriate or excessive, and that, in light of the circumstances, there was no reason to reduce the sentence.



Shivaji @ Dadya Shankar Alhat v. The State of Maharashtra Supreme Court of India (2008)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

A man led a nine-year-old girl to a hill where he raped, strangled and murdered her. The girl’s sister testified that she saw her sister leave with the man and the mother later recovered the girl’s body from the hill and filed the police report against the accused. He was convicted and sentenced to death under Sections 376 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The man appealed, claiming that he should not be sentenced to death on circumstantial evidence alone. The High Court dismissed the appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that circumstantial evidence establishes the guilt of the accused, forming the conviction, but does not bear any relation to the sentencing. The Supreme Court defers discretion to trial judges in arriving at a proper sentence dealing with the subtleties of each case.



State of Rajasthan v. Madan Singh Supreme Court of India (2008)

Sexual violence and rape

The Trial Court convicted a man of raping a ten-year-old girl and sentenced him to ten years of imprisonment under Section 376(2)(f) of the Indian Penal Code. On appeal, the High Court reduced his sentence to seven years considering the convicted had already suffered a custodial sentence of six years, was young, and the only breadwinner in a family with two children. The Supreme Court, however, reversed the High Court’s reduction of the sentence because it fell below the statutory minimum. The Supreme Court held that the measure of punishment in a rape case cannot depend on the social status of the victim or the accused. It must depend on the conduct of the accused, the state and age of the victim, and the gravity of the criminal act. Crimes of violence upon women are to be severely dealt with. The proviso to Section 376(2) specifies that the court may, for special and adequate reasons, impose a sentence of less than ten years. However, the Supreme Court in the present case, found there to be no justifiable extenuating or mitigating circumstances available that would justify imposing a less-than-minimum sentence.



R. v. Smith Ontario Court of Appeal (2005)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The appellant was convicted of two counts of making obscene material, one count of possessing obscene material for distribution, and two counts of distributing obscene material through internet websites. The materials in question, consisting of audiovisual material and written stories, depicted acts of violence perpetrated against women by men. Although no explicit sexual act was depicted in the audiovisual material, the images included depictions of nude women with their genitalia exposed and with weapons protruding from their bodies. The written stories, however, depicted explicit sex and violence. The trial judge imposed a $100,000 fine and a period of probation, during which the appellant was prohibited from accessing the internet or residing in any place where internet access was provided. The appellant appealed both his convictions and sentence. The Court of Appeal judge ruled that he would allow the appeal, set aside the convictions on four of the five counts and ordered a new trial on those counts. With respect to the written stories, the judge dismissed the appeal, set aside the original sentence and probation order, and imposed a $2,000 fine.



R. v. Arcand Court of Appeal of Alberta (2010)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The complainant was raped by the accused, a distant relative, while unconscious in her home. Prior to the incident, out of kindness, the complainant had taken the accused to her home and had offered to let him stay with her. Just before the assault, the two were sitting on a bed talking, drinking, and watching television. The complainant then passed out, and she awoke to find the accused having sexual intercourse with her. She pushed him off and brought suit against him for sexual assault. The trial judge found the accused guilty of sexual assault. Although there is a three-year minimum sentence for serious sexual assault, the judge took the recommendation of defense counsel and sentenced the accused to 90 days imprisonment, to be served intermittently, plus three years probation. The State appealed the sentence, arguing that it should have been in the three- to four-year range. In evaluating the appropriate application of the proportionality principle to sentences for sexual assault, the Court of Appeal reasoned that the Supreme Court had never endorsed the concept of a harmless rape or other major sexual assault. The court held that non-consensual sexual intercourse under any circumstances constituted a profound violation of a person’s dignity, equality, security of person and sexual autonomy, and that under the circumstances of the instant case, the offense should have been sentenced as a serious sexual assault. However, the court also ruled that, having regard to all relevant considerations, a downward departure from the three-year minimum sentence is justified. Finding that the original sentence was inadequate, the court granted the appeal and concluded that a fit and proper sentence would be two years imprisonment plus two years probation.



Rajbir @ Raju & Anr v. State of Haryana Supreme Court of India (2010)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

This case involved an appeal of a man’s lifetime imprisonment sentence. He was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife after she asked for money six months into their marriage. The Punjab & Haryana High Court reduced the sentence to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. The man’s mother was also awarded two years rigorous imprisonment. While the reduction in the husband’s sentence was issued, the Court directed all trial courts in India to ordinarily add § 302 to the charge of § 304B, so that death sentences can be imposed in such heinous and barbaric crimes against women.



Sgt. Canbera Dickson v. Uganda Court of Appeals of Uganda (2010)

Sexual violence and rape

This is an appeal challenging a rape conviction and sentencing of 15 years imprisonment. Appellant, an army sergeant, went to a village and used a gun to murder his maternal uncle. On the same day, he led his victim, a widow of appellant’s late brother, to an abandoned house and raped her at gunpoint. Three days later, the victim reported the incident and was medically examined. Because she recently had a baby, the medical examiner was unable to find any physical damage to her body. Appellant appeals on two main grounds: (1) without medical proof of penetration, the victim’s accusation requires corroboration to stand; (2) the sentence of 15 years was excessive. On appeal, the court accepted the prosecution’s argument that, because the victim was a new mother and was being held at gunpoint, it was very unlikely that she would have been physically damaged from the penetration or struggle. The court also followed prior precedent that held that, in certain criminal cases, corroboration was not necessary for a conviction. Concerning sentencing, the court also agreed with the prosecution. The court found that appellant had been given a gun by the military to protect the people of Uganda, but instead appellant used that gun to terrorize and rape the victim. Because of those circumstances, the court refused to be lenient, but rather increased appellant’s sentence to 25 years.



Mugasa Joseph v. Uganda Court of Appeal of Uganda (2010)

Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

This appeal was limited to sentencing only. Appellant was convicted of defilement of a baby girl and was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment. Appellant was a relative of the child and was known as a teacher of Christianity. Appellant requested a more lenient sentence of 10 years. The Court of Appeals ruled against Appellant and increased his sentence to 25 years, citing the policy consideration that, despite the fact that defilement can be punishable by death, individuals still continue to defile babies. Thus, the court used this case as an opportunity to send a message to society that “violating the rights of child females must stop.”



Vistos los autos: “Review of fact by an Appeal court in the cause of Anonymous” Supreme Court of Argentina

Sexual violence and rape

Anonymous had been continually sexually abused and raped by her father since 2001 at the age of twelve. An Argentinean trial court had sentenced the father to eighteen years in prison for abusing his daughter, but this decision was overturned by an Argentinean appellate court, believing the father was not clearly guilty and his punishment was, thus, incommensurate with the crime. The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court decision, stating that there was clear guilt on the father’s part, repeated cries for help by Anonymous, and that the appellate court showed a lack of regard for the facts and the suffering of Anonymous. The case was remanded for new sentencing.

 

Anónimo había sido continuamente abusada sexualmente y violada por su padre desde 2001 a la edad de doce años. Un tribunal de primera instancia argentino había condenado al padre a dieciocho años de prisión por abusar de su hija, pero esta decisión fue revocada por un tribunal de apelación argentino, creyendo que el padre no era evidentemente culpable y que su castigo era, por lo tanto, incompatible con el crimen. La Corte Suprema anuló la decisión de la corte de apelaciones, declarando que había una clara culpabilidad por parte del padre, repetidos gritos de ayuda por parte de Anonymous, y que la corte de apelaciones mostró una falta de respeto por los hechos y el sufrimiento de Anonymous. El caso fue remitido para nueva sentencia.



Matter of S., R. A., E. O. A. y A., R. A. Buenos Aires Supreme Court (2006)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

In this case, a defendant who had been sentenced to twenty five years for kidnapping, among other crimes, appealed his conviction, contending that he had committed lesser kidnapping (plagio) instead of the more serious crime of premeditated kidnapping (rapto) of which he was convicted. The court decided to uphold his conviction, despite the fact that there was only coercion involved. The “lessening of sexual integrity” against the will of the victims made the defendant guilty of the greater crime of rapto under article 130 of the Argentinean Penal Code.

 

En este caso, un acusado que había sido condenado a veinticinco años por secuestro y otros delitos, apeló su condena, alegando que había cometido secuestro menor (plagio) en lugar del delito más grave de secuestro (rapto) premeditado del cual fue condenado. El tribunal decidió defender su condena, a pesar del hecho de que solo hubo coerción. La "disminución de la integridad sexual" contra la voluntad de las víctimas hizo que el acusado fuera culpable del mayor delito de rapto en virtud del artículo 130 del Código Penal argentino.



Golla Yelugu Govindu v. State of Andhra Pradesh Supreme Court of India (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

A fourteen-year marriage broke down when the husband became addicted to “vices”; he began to beat his wife and demand money of her parents. During a quarrel, with their children in the room, the husband killed his wife by hacking her with a sickle in her back and neck. The Trial Court convicted him and sentenced him to a life imprisonment, but he appealed, claiming that his children were too young to be competent witnesses. The Supreme Court held that there is no age restriction on competency. All people are competent to testify unless they cannot understand questions or give rational answers. The Supreme Court did reduce his sentence, however, to ten years, because the murder was done in a sudden act and not premeditated.



Bangaru Venkata Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh Supreme Court of India (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

A husband killed his wife by stabbing her in the abdomen and was sentenced under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code to life imprisonment. He appealed the sentence, claiming that the record clearly establishes that he only delivered a single blow to his wife in a sudden quarrel, and therefore conviction under Section 302 is not proper. The High Court dismissed the appeal but the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the husband’s actions in a sudden fight did not warrant life imprisonment. His sentence should have been brought under the fourth exception of Section 300, accounting for the heat of passion in a sudden fight, and accordingly his sentence was reduced to ten years.



KKO 2011:1 Supreme Court of Finland (2011)

Sexual violence and rape

The issue here was whether violation of official duty of a doctor was considered sexual abuse under the Finnish Criminal Code (39/1889, as amended) (the "Criminal Code"). A was the working doctor when B went for a breast ultrasonography. A had touched B's breast with bare hands and complemented her on her breasts. A had also massaged gel on the breasts with his hands and several times touched B's breasts. A had also, after getting permission from B, suckled the breasts in order to get excretion. The District Court and the Court of Appeal held that the procedure was not appropriate but did not amount to sexual abuse. The questionbefore the Supreme Court was whether the procedure had a sexual purpose.  According to  Chapter 20 Section 5(1) of the Criminal Code, a person who abuses his or her position and entices another into engaging in sexual intercourse or another sexual act or submitting to such an act should be sentenced for sexual abuse. The Court held that the procedures that A performed deviated from established and medically recommended practice. As a whole the procedure was done in a way that strongly indicated the purpose of sexual arousal or satisfaction. The fact that B had reacted only afterwards was not significant. The Court held that doctor and patient are not in an equal position and the fact that a patient agrees to a medical examination does not imply that the patient would give up her sexual self-determination. The Court saw that A had misused his position as a doctor and found A guilty of sexual abuse and violation of an official duty in accordance with Chapter 40 Section 9(1) of the Criminal Code. The Court found that this was only a single incident towards a consenting adult and sentenced A to pay 80 days-fine and damages to B of 1,200 Euros.



KKO 2003:76 Supreme Court of Finland (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The issue was whether plaintiff was entitled to compensation for anguish in connection with intimate partner violence. A (male) had assaulted E (female) in E's home and on the staircase in a way that caused brain injury and severe traumatic stress. The District Court and the Court of Appeal sentenced A for an aggravated assault and ordered A to pay damages for pain and suffering for 20,000 Finnish marks. The Courts rejected demands for compensation on anguish. The question before the Supreme Court was about the amount of damages and if E was entitled to damages arising from anguish. The Supreme Court evaluated the pain and suffering as a whole and ordered A to pay 14,000 Euros of damages. In court practice (rulings KKO 1989:141 and KKO 1999:102) an assault has not been held as an act that justifies damages on mental anguish. According to Chapter 5 Section 6 of the Finnish Tort Liability Act (412/1974, as amended) (the "Tort Liability Act"), the provisions of the Tort Liability Act on personal injury apply also to damages for the anguish arising from an offense against liberty, honour or the domestic peace or from another comparable offense. The Court held that since A broke into E's apartment, E was entitled to damages arising from offense against domestic peace which could be seen causing anguish. The Court ruled that A had to pay damages for anguish in the amount of 500 Euros.



VaaHO:2006:16 Court of Appeal of Vaasa (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The issue here was whether a partner's experience of domestic violence during her former relationships could be seen as a mitigating circumstance in connection with the partner's manslaughter of her new partner. A (female) had killed B (male) by making a deadly strike with a kitchen knife. Before the strike A had flailed the knife in a way which caused several marks on B's body. A and B were arguing on the night of the stabbing. A claimed that B had never before been violent towards A, but in A's former relationships A had experienced domestic violence. The District Court found that the fact that there was a plastic bag behind the living room sofa containing knives collected from the house could suggest that there was a threat of violence. It found that there were some indications of justifiable defense and sentenced A to prison for 8 years 6 months for manslaughter. The Court of Appeal held that B had attacked A unlawfully, causing A the need for self-defense. However, it found that the use of a knife in the situation was not justifiable, as A did not receive any grave wounds except for bruises. The Court found that A was guilty of excessive self-defense. According to Chapter 20 Section 3 of the Finnish Criminal Code (39/1889, as amended) (the "Criminal Code"), if the manslaughter, in view of the exceptional circumstances of the offense, the motives of the offender or other related circumstances, when assessed as a whole, is to be deemed committed under mitigating circumstances, the offender shall be sentenced for killing to imprisonment for at least four and at most ten years. The Finnish government proposal (94/1993) for the Criminal Code states that these kind of exceptional circumstances can be present when a wife has been constantly terrorized with violence by her husband and she kills him. The Court held that A had a traumatic background and had experienced domestic violence but that there had not been, according to A, any previous violence by B towards A. The Court did not consider this an exceptional circumstance. A was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter committed as excessive self-defense.



Helsingen Hovioikeus 2007:722 Court of Appeal of Helsinki (2007)

Trafficking in persons

The issue here was whether defendants Ilves, Marttila, Zdanovits, Hilden, Maalinn, Traublum and Angelsctock were guilty of aggravated trafficking in human beings of a mentally handicapped person and of aggravated pandering. According to Chapter 25 Section 3 a of the Finnish Criminal Code (39/1889, as amended) (the "Criminal Code"), if, in trafficking in human beings, (i) violence, threats or deceitfulness is used instead of or in addition to the means referred to in section 3,(ii) grievous bodily harm, a serious illness or a state of mortal danger or comparable particularly grave suffering is intentionally or through gross negligence inflicted on another person, (iii) the offense has been committed against a child younger than 18 years of age or against a person whose capacity to defend himself or herself has been substantially diminished, or (iv) the offence has been committed within the framework of a criminal organization referred to in chapter 17, section 1a, subsection 4 and the offence is aggravated also when considered as whole, the offender shall be sentenced for aggravated trafficking in human beings to imprisonment for at least two years and at most ten years. Seemen had come to Finland from Estonia to work as a prostitute. According to doctor's testimony, she was mentally handicapped. The Court concluded, in the light of the evidence presented, that Seemen had been threatened by violence and her freedom had been restricted by the defendants. The elements of trafficking were present as a whole when taking into account the intensiveness of the submission, even though Seemen might still have had her passport or key to the apartment. The Court of Appeal considered that the defendants were guilty of aggravated trafficking in human beings. Seemen, who was mentally handicapped, had been deceived and mislead into working as a prostitute in Finland. The court dismissed the claims of aggravated trafficking in human beings against Marttila and Hilden on grounds that they could not have been seen in having such a close connection with Seemen even though they were belonged to a criminal organization responsible for pandering. The Court also held that Angelstock was guilty only of abetting aggravated trafficking in human beings. According to Chapter 20 Section 9a(1) of the Criminal Code if, in pandering, (i) considerable financial benefit is sought, (ii) the offense is committed in a particularly methodical manner, and the offense is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the offender shall be sentenced for aggravated pandering to imprisonment for at least four months and at most six years. According to the Finnish government proposal (34/2004), for the Criminal Code, "considerable financial benefit" would meant cases where the benefit is larger than on average. The Court decided that Ilves, Marttila, Zdanovits, Hilden, Malinn and Traublum were guilty of aggravated pandering. They were ordered to forfeit the proceeds of the crime and to pay damages to Seemen.



State. v. Mahomotsa (2002)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The accused was charged and convicted on two separate counts of rape for raping two 15-year-old girls more than once and sentenced to six years imprisonment on the first and ten years imprisonment on the second count.  On appeal, the defense was put forward that the sentence was too severe because of mitigating circumstances in that the victims did not suffer serious physical or psychological injuries and that both victims had previously been sexually active. The Court dismissed the appeal and held that the sentences were, in fact, too lenient, especially as the victims' previous sexual history was irrelevant and also that the extent of harm to the victims matters less because rape is a basic violation of dignity.  The sentence was increased to 8 years for the first count and 12 years for the second.



R v. Mkhatshwa Supreme Court of Swaziland (2007)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was convicted of raping his 12 year old daughter and sentenced to 22 years imprisonment. The Court upheld the sentence in light of the heinous nature of rape as a crime and the importance of society sending a message of severe condemnation of the crime.



W.N. v. The State (2008)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant, a minor, was sentenced to 10 years for the rape of a fellow classmate and appeals his sentence on the grounds that it was too excessive. The lower court sentenced the appellant-defendant to direct imprisonment rather than probation after hearing testimony about the appellant's unrepentant nature and lack of parental supervision. The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the decision, finding that correctional supervision would have lacked the appropriate punitive impact demanded by the offense and deterrent effect.



State v. Engelbrecht High Court of South Africa (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

In determining sentencing for a woman convicted of murdering her spouse, expert testimony regarding battered woman syndrome is more relevant to the sentencing decision than to the assessment of the legality of the defendant's actions.  The court reviewed a line of cases involving women convicted of murdering their abusive partners.  Although the court cited a variety of mitigating factors that should be considered (e.g., the sustained nature of the abusive conduct, the presence of children in the home,etc.), it held that foremost is the actual effect sustained domestic violence has on women. As a result, the court found expert testimony confirming that the defendant suffered form the syndrome to be a "substantial and compelling" reason to suspend the defendant's sentence. 



Achoki v. Republic Court of Appeal of Kenya at Kisumu (2011)

Sexual violence and rape

The appellant was charged with three criminal violations in connection with his and his coconspirators' robbery of the complainant and corresponding violence: (1) aggravated robbery with violence, (2) rape of the complainant's niece during the robbery, and (3) possession of suspected stolen property.  The trial court found the appellant guilty on all counts, but the first count was reduced to simple robbery.  The trial court sentenced him to ten years imprisonment for robbery, ten years imprisonment for rape, and 12 months for handling suspected stole goods, to be served concurrently. Without citing a specific reason for reducing the aggravated robbery with violence charge, the trial magistrate noted that the complainant testified that she was not injured in the robbery.  The appellant first appealed to the High Court, which found the appeal had no merit and that the appellant was guilty of aggravated robbery with violence.  The High Court vacated the conviction and 10-year sentence for simple robbery and imposed the death sentence for robbery with violence.  In this appeal to the Court of Appeal (Kisumu), the appellant raised four concerns: (1) whether he was improperly identified as the robber and rapist because the attack took place at night when it was dark, (2) whether the first appellate court properly re-evaluated the evidence, (3) whether the High Court's substitution of simple robbery with aggravated robbery with violence was proper, and (4) whether the State was required to file a cross-appeal to entitle the High Court to substitute the simple robbery conviction with aggravated robbery with violence.  The High Court documents show that the appellant was warned more than once and that at the earliest opportunity the State Counsel would seek to increase the sentence to capital robbery, but the appellant decided to proceed with the appeal.  Quoting its precedent, the lower courts' records, and the Criminal Procedure Code Sec. 354, the Court of Appeal rejected all aspects of the appeal and upheld the death sentence for robbery with violence.



Mulundi v. Republic Court of Appeal of Kenya at Machakos (2005)

Gender violence in conflict, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was convicted of defilement of a girl under the age of 14 years and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with ten strokes of the cane.  The appellant appealed his conviction and the sentence as being excessive for a first offense. The Court dismissed the appeal of the conviction as the complainant identified the appellant and medical evidence is no longer necessary to convict an accused if the evidence was sufficiently cogent.  The "defilement" conviction was substituted with rape and the appellant was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.  



Chepkwony v. Republic High Court of Kenya at Nakuru (2006)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was convicted of defilement for having sexual intercourse with the complainant, who was 12 years old at the time.  The trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment.  He appealed, arguing that the prosecution did not satisfy its burden of proofs, that there was no evidence of violent force, that the complainant was his girlfriend, and that she consented.  The prosecution presented evidence of the complainant's physical injuries and the appellant's HIV-positive status.  The Court dismissed the appeal because sex with any girl younger than 16 years old is unlawful regardless of consent, and the appellant had not raised the defense that he had a reasonable belief that the girl was above the age of consent.  The Court rejected appellant's plea for special consideration because of his alleged HIV status.  Instead, the Court cited the appellant's decision to expose a 12-year-old child to HIV/AIDS in its decision to uphold the life sentence.



Ochieng v. Republic High Court of Kenya of Kisii (2008)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was charged and convicted of defilement and indecent assault of a six-year-old girl.  He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on the first count and five years imprisonment for the second.  He appealed on the grounds of insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction and an excessive sentence. The Court affirmed the convictions because the six-year-old complainant described the incident in detail, the medical evidence was corroborative, and the appellant's abrupt and unexplained disappearance after the incident was also properly considered corroborative evidence.  The Court also held that the sentences were not excessive. 



Mwaura v. Republic Court of Appeal of Kenya at Nakuru (2007)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The accused was charged with defilement of a girl under the age of 14 years, and was convicted and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.  He appealed for leniency on the grounds that he was remorseful, suffering from acute pneumonia and only 17 years of age at the time of the incident. The Court upheld the sentence finding that the sentence of 10 years for defilement of a girl and 5 years for indecent assault is not excessive and no circumstances existed to justify mitigating the sentence.



Rex v. Tauhali and Mashea High Court of Lesotho (1999)

Sexual violence and rape

Both of the accused were convicted of raping a 25-year-old woman when each took turns helping the other to rape the complainant. Two women who were with her tried to drive off the accused, but they threw rocks at the women and chased them off. The Court noted that the punishment for rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment when there are no mitigating or aggravating factors. Aggravating factors include (1) violence in addition to the violence of the rape, (2) use of a weapon to intimidate or physically harm, and (3) repeated rape. The Court upheld the conviction and overturned the previous sentence of five years each to eight years, finding that gang rape calls for a higher sentence. In its discussion of the elements of rape, the Court noted that if one perpetrator held a woman down while another raped her, then the first would also be guilty of rape. In addition, in contradiction of international standards, the Court stated that women lack the necessary anatomy to commit rape and therefore can only be guilty of rape by assisting a male perpetrator. 



Republic v. Makaluni High Court of Malawi (2002)

Sexual violence and rape

The accused was convicted of rape and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.  The sentence was appealed by the judge who reviewed the lower court's decision because the reviewing judge found the sentence inadequate. The Court upheld the sentence, stating that it was not so excessively inadequate as to merit interference and taking note of the factors used in determining sentences for rape offenders: violence used to commit the rape, a repeated rape, a carefully planned rape, whether the defendant has previous convictions for rape or other serious offenses, whether the victim was subjected to any further sexual indignities, whether the victim was very young or very old, and the physical and mental effects upon the victim. The factors to warrant a harsher sentence were not judged to be present in this case, and the sentencing judge's decision was within his discretion.



Republic v. Mzungu High Court of Malawi (2007)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was charged with defilement for having unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 13 years of age. The trial court convicted him of indecent assault because there was no penetration. He appealed his conviction for indecent assault because it was not included in the original charge. He also argued that his sentence was excessive. The Court dismissed the appeal of the conviction on the grounds that where the evidence is sufficient to sustain the lesser charge of indecent assault but may not be sufficient for defilement, the accused may be convicted of the lesser crime even when it was not included in the original charge. However, the Court upheld the appeal of the sentence and lowered it, despite of the fact that women and girls need to be protected, taking into account the mitigating factor of the appellant's youth.



Republic v. Peter High Court of Malawi (2008)

Statutory rape or defilement

The appellant was found guilty of defiling a girl under 13 years of age and appealed on the grounds that the sentence is excessive and that his taking care of his grandparents should be considered as a mitigating factor. The complainant had since been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and medical examinations revealed multiple instances of sexual abuse. The appellant testified that neither he nor his wife had a sexually transmitted infection, but the Court did not find this claim persuasive because neither of them had been tested (neither took the initiative to be tested and the government could not force them to be tested). The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the sentence, considering the harm done to the complainant in infecting her with a sexually transmitted infection.



Makuto v. State Court of Appeal for Botswana at Lobatse (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

The appellant appealed his conviction for rape, arguing that the Penal Code sections dealing with rape are discriminatory because they provide increased penalties for a person convicted of rape if they are found to be HIV-positive.  The Court held that the relevant provisions of the Penal Code apply when the convicted person was HIV-positive at the time he committed the rape and that it is therefore a reasonable provision in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.   



State. v. Matlho Court of Appeal of Botswana (2008)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

The appellant challenged the sentence for rape under the sections of the Penal Code that set forth mandatory minimum sentences for rape charges depending on circumstances such as the perpetrator's use of violence or the perpetrator's status as being HIV positive. Section 142(5) of the Penal Code prohibits a sentence for rape from running concurrently with any other offense; the sentences must be served consecutively.  The appellant was convicted on two counts of rape and sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for each count, resulting in a total of 20 years imprisonment, which he claimed was a violation of the constitutional prohibition on "torture or inhuman or degrading punishment."  The Court upheld the conviction, noting that although it was undeniably severe, it was not disproportionate to the offense, especially in light of the increase in the incidence of rape in Botswana and the heinous nature of rape itself.



Sekoto v. Director of Public Prosecutions Court of Appeal of Botswana at Lobatse (2007)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The appellant appeals his conviction for the murder of his live-in girlfriend and his sentence of 12 years imprisonment.  The Court upheld the sentence, noting the increasing incidence in Botswana of former lovers killing their partners and opining that the courts should impose appropriately stiff sentences as a deterrent. 



Legislation

Criminal Law Amendment Act No. 105 (1997)

Sexual violence and rape

Section 51 of the Act provides for certain mandatory sentences and sentencing guidelines which a regional court or high court may impose and consider for, inter alia, rape and compelled rape (minimum sentences may be reduced for compelling and substantial circumstances). The Act specifically provides that when considering imposing a sentence in respect of the offence of rape, a court must not consider the following circumstances as constituting compelling circumstances to deviate from the minimum sentencing guidelines: the complainant’s sexual history, lack of physical injury, culture or religious beliefs of accused or any relationship of the parties prior to assault.



Criminal Offenses: Stalking (General Laws of Rhode Island)

Stalking

This statute makes it illegal to harass or to knowingly and repeatedly follow another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. Under the statute, stalking is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years, by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.



Code of Virginia: Stalking; penalty (Va. Code § 18.2-60.3)

Stalking

Virginia law prohibits that any person, except law enforcement officers acting in the capacity of the official duties, and registered private investigators acting in the course of their legitimate business, who on more than one occasion engages in conduct with the intent to place, or when that person knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places another person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person’s family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions are a prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.



Código Penal (Penal Code) (2018)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Domestic and intimate partner violence, Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Forced and early marriage, Gender-based violence in general, LGBTIQ, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Under section 142 (Crimes against people) of the Portuguese Penal Code, abortion is permitted if performed by a doctor and in the following scenarios: (1) risk of death or grave physical or mental harm to the mother; (2) the fetus is in risk of grave illness or malformation, up to the 24th week of pregnancy; (3) pregnancy was caused by rape or sexual assault, up to the 16th week of pregnancy; (4) by the mother’s choice, up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Article 118 provides that the statute of limitations on crimes of sexual violence and female genital mutilation against minors do not expire until the victim is at least 23 years old. Prostitution is not considered a crime in Portugal. However, the economic exploitation of prostitution by third parties is considered a crime under the Penal Code. A homicide that reveals “especial censurabilidade ou perversidade” (special censorship or perversity) is punishable with 12 – 25 years imprisonment. These special circumstances include a current or former spousal relationship between the perpetrator and victim, a sexual motive, and hate crimes including those based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Article 144a bans female genital mutilation and imposes a prison sentence of two to 18 years. Articles 154b, 159, and 160 ban forced marriage, slavery, and human trafficking, respectively. Article 163 bans sexual coercion, which carries a sentence of one to eight years for coercing a significant sexual act. Article 164 punishes “violação”, which is forcible intercourse, with imprisonment for one to six years.



Law No. 21 of 2007 on Prevention of Human Trafficking (2007)

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

This law criminalizes the act of human trafficking and sets out minimum and maximum sentencing standards (up to 15 years) for its various permutations, such as in assisting or abetting such a crime. It also states that Indonesia will cooperate with regional and international authorities in order to thwart any actions relating to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.



On the Amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of Ukraine in order to implement the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (2017)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Forced and early marriage, Forced sterilization, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, International law, Sexual violence and rape

The Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes of Ukraine were amended in December 2017 to adopt provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) adopted in 2011.  As a result of these amendments, forced marriage (i.e. forcing a person to marry or to continue being in a forced marriage, or to enter into a cohabitation without official registration of marriage, or to continue such cohabitation) is punishable by restraint of liberty for up to three years or imprisonment for the same period and domestic violence (i.e. deliberate systematic violence against a spouse or ex-spouse or other person with whom the perpetrator is in family or intimate relationship, leading to physical or psychological suffering, disorder of health, disability, emotional dependence) is punishable with public works for up to 240 hours or detention for up to six months, or restraint of liberty for up to 5 years or imprisonment for up to two years.  In addition, the amendments:

  • introduce new corpus delicti, such as “illegal abortion or sterilization” (i.e. performed by a person without medical education or without consent of the victim) which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 3 years;
  • establish punishment for rape of a spouse or ex-spouse or other person with whom the perpetrator is in a family or intimate relationship (imprisonment for up to 10 years); and
  • increase punishment for sexual violence to up to 15 years, if such acts resulted in serious consequences.


On Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence (No. 2229-VIII) (2017)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Domestic Violence Protection Act of Ukraine (the “Act”) introduces the concept of “domestic violence” which is defined to include action or inaction of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence committed within a family or between relatives, or between former or current spouses or other persons who live (or lived) together as a family, irrespective of whether the person who committed domestic violence lives (or lived) together with the victim, as well as a threat of similar actions. The Act contains a series of governmental steps aimed at combatting domestic violence and improving the status of victims of domestic violence, which includes, without limitation, that the Ukrainian government maintain a unified state register of cases of domestic violence and sex-based violence and to establish a relevant call center, the adoption of immediate injunctions with respect to domestic violence offenders, provision of free of charge legal assistance to all victims in all cases of domestic violence, free medical, social and psychological help, and reimbursement of inflicted harm and damage to the victim’s physical and psychological health. The Act, through amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences Act, makes domestic violence or sex-based violence punishable by a fine in the amount of 20 non-taxable minimal wages or public works for the period from 30 to 40 hours or administrative detention for the period of up to seven days. If such actions are repeated within a year, the punishment is increased up to 40 non-taxable minimal wages, public works for the period of up to 60 hours or administrative detention for up to 15 days.



The Islamic Penal Code of Iran, Books 1 & 2 (2013)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination, Harmful traditional practices, LGBTIQ

Article 147 of the Islamic Penal Code specifies that the age of maturity triggering criminal responsibility is 15 Islamic lunar calendar years for boys, but only nine Islamic lunar calendar years for girls. This signifies that young girls can be charged as criminally responsible adults in Iran before they reach the age of puberty. Articles 237-239 forbid same-sex kissing and touching, which will be punished by 31-74 lashes. Female genital touching (musaheqeh) is punished by 100 lashes. Article 225 mandates the death penalty for adultery (zina), which international commentators have noted is disproportionately applied to women (e.g., UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Women/A-68-340.pdf). Article 199 describes the number and gender of witnesses needed to prove various crimes; no crimes may be proven with female witnesses alone and any female witness requires corroboration of a man and another woman. (Full Persian version of the Penal Code available at: http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=103202)



International Case Law

Jit Kumari Pangeni (Neupane) and Others v. Prime Ministers and Council of Ministers and Others Supreme Court of Nepal (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination, Sexual violence and rape

A woman who had been a repeated victim of marital rape petitioned the Supreme Court of Nepal to make sentencing for marital rape on par with sentencing for other types of rape. The Court found that punishing marital rape differently from other forms of rape violated equal rights provisions in the Interim Constitution and international law, especially considering that prior sentencing guidelines of three to six months put the victim in danger of repeated violence and rape. Although the Court did not have the power to change sentencing terms on existing offences, it directed the legislative authorities to change sentencing terms for marital rape, showing recognition of the gravity of rape as a violation of rights and dignity while also exhibiting a proactive will to reform legal codes in the name of equality.



Saadia Ali v. Tunisia CAT Committee (2008)

Gender-based violence in general

Saadia Ali, a dual French/Tunisian citizen, was attempting to obtain an official document from the court of first instance in Tunis when she was taken into custody, stripped of her clothing, and beaten by a prison guard in front of fifty male prisoners for verbally criticizing a Tunisian public official. Upon regaining consciousness, Ali was given a summary trial without due process and a suspended sentence of three months imprisonment for attacking a public official. Ali’s lawyer initiated a complaint with the office of the State prosecutor, which rejected the complaint without further explanation. In her complaint to the Committee Against Torture, Ali alleged violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment (CAT), and cited violations of internationally recognized standards on the administration of justice and articles 25 and 26 of Tunisia’s Code of Criminal Procedure. The Committee held that Tunisia’s actions towards Ali were tantamount to torture and violated articles 1, 12, 13, 14, and 16 of the Convention. The deliberate infliction of severe pain and suffering upon Ali by Tunisian public officials constituted torture under article 1 and cruel, unusual, or degrading treatment within the meaning of article 16. The Committee also held that the State’s dismissal of the complaint and delay in investigating Ali’s case established a violation of articles 12 and 13, under which a State has the obligation to promptly investigate allegations of torture. The State’s failure to act on the complaint and immediately launch an investigation equated to a breach of the State’s obligations under article 14 to provide redress to victims of torture in the form of restitution, compensation, and rehabilitation.