Bolivia

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Domestic Case Law

Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, Case 2208/2013 Constitutional Tribunal (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Court held that it was not empowered to impose measures that guaranteed the physical and psychological integrity of domestic violence victims when other tribunals and bodies established for that purpose were competent. However, plaintiffs have the right to make the requests from the competent courts to take necessary measures in order to enforce its orders, using persuasive or coercive means.

La Corte sostuvo que no estaba facultada para imponer medidas que garantizaran la integridad física y psicológica de las víctimas de violencia doméstica donde otros tribunales y organismos establecidos con ese fin eran competentes. Sin embargo, los demandantes tienen el derecho de hacer las solicitudes de los tribunales competentes para tomar las medidas necesarias para hacer cumplir sus órdenes, utilizando medios persuasivos o coercitivos.



Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, Case 1708/2013 Constitutional Tribunal (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The plaintiff in this action was an elected councilor in the municipality of Tolata. She was forced to sign a letter of resignation under pressure from a group of intruders who had entered the session room of the municipal building. The plaintiff alleged that her rights relating to legal security in the exercise of a public function under Articles 46 and 144 of the constitution were violated and sought constitutional protection and the return to the office of municipal councilor of Tolata. The Constitutional Tribunal granted these requests.

La demandante en esta acción era un concejal electo en el municipio de Tolata. Se vio obligada a firmar una carta de renuncia bajo la presión de un grupo de intrusos que habían entrado en la sala de sesiones del edificio municipal. La demandante alegó que sus derechos relacionados con la seguridad jurídica en el ejercicio de una función pública en virtud de los Artículos 46 y 144 de la constitución fueron violados y solicitó protección constitucional y el regreso a la oficina del concejal municipal de Tolata. El Tribunal Constitucional concedió estas solicitudes.



Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, Case 1961/2013 Constitutional Tribunal (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination

The Constitutional Tribunal held that the conduct of the municipal authorities forcing a victim of gender violence to reconcile with her aggressor under the threat of taking her children to a shelter violates the right of women to live free from violence. The Tribunal held that this conduct constituted undue harassment.

El Tribunal Constitucional sostuvo que la conducta de las autoridades municipales, obligando a una víctima de violencia de género a reconciliarse con su agresor bajo la amenaza de llevar a sus hijos a un refugio es contra el derecho de las mujeres a vivir libres de violencia. El Tribunal sostuvo que esta conducta constituía indebida acoso.



Decision of the Constructional Tribunal, Case 0033/2013 Supreme Tribunal: Criminal Bench (2017)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The Supreme Tribunal confirmed the decision of the Appeal Court, which refused to review the decision of the First Instance Court that had allowed summary proceedings in a case of domestic violence and had sentenced the accused to two years of prison. The Supreme Tribunal held that the Court of Appeal had sufficiently reasoned its decision by holding that the judge of First Instance had correctly applied Article 272 of the Criminal Code, which provides for abbreviated proceedings and for the imposition of the maximum penalty suggested by the public ministry where the accused pleads guilty and agrees with the public ministry to abbreviated proceedings.  

El Tribunal Supremo confirmó la decisión del Tribunal de Apelación, que se negó a revisar la decisión del Tribunal de Primera Instancia que había permitido un proceso sumario en un caso de violencia doméstica y había condenado al acusado a dos años de prisión. El Tribunal Supremo sostuvo que el Tribunal de Apelación había razonado suficientemente su decisión al sostener que el juez de Primera Instancia había aplicado correctamente el Artículo 272 del Código Penal, que prevé un procedimiento abreviado y la imposición de la pena máxima sugerida por el ministerio público donde el acusado se declara culpable y está de acuerdo con el ministerio público para abreviar los procedimientos.



Decision of the Constitutional Tribunal, Case 0206/2014 Constitutional Tribunal (2015)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Gender discrimination

Patricia Mansilla Martínez, a member of the Bolivian Parliament, challenged the constitutionality of several articles of the Criminal Code on the basis that they discriminated against women. The Court held that some of the challenged articles were unconstitutional and upheld others. On the grounds of gender discrimination, the Court found unconstitutional Article 56, which prevented imprisoned women from being employed outside of prisons while allowing imprisoned men outside employment, and Article 245, which recognized as a defense to the offense of falsifying a birth record the motive of protecting the honor of one’s wife, mother, daughter, or sister. The Court declared unconstitutional the words “fragility” and “dishonor” in Article 258 regarding infanticide also due to gender discrimination, although this did not affect the operation of the offense. The final unconstitutional issue was that Article 250 criminalized an unmarried man abandoning a woman who became pregnant with him, but did not criminalize a married father’s abandonment of his pregnant wife. The Court was unwilling to hold restrictions on abortion unconstitutional. As such, receiving an abortion remains prohibited under Articles 263 and 264, and the performance of abortion is prohibited under Article 269. However, the Court did declare unconstitutional the requirements in Article 266 that a woman inform the police and obtain judicial authorization in order to obtain an abortion in the case of rape or incest (article 266).

Patricia Mansilla Martínez, quien es miembro del Parlamento boliviano, cuestionó la constitucionalidad de varios artículos del Código Penal sobre la base de que eran discriminatorios contra las mujeres. El Tribunal sostuvo que varios de los artículos impugnados eran inconstitucionales: el Artículo 56, que impedía que las mujeres encarceladas fueran empleadas fuera de las cárceles mientras que los hombres encarcelados, por otro lado, podían tener empleo y el Artículo 245, que reconocía la protección del honor de la esposa, la madre, la hija o la hermana de uno como defensa al delito de falsificar un registro de nacimiento. Ambos Artículos se consideraron inconstitucionales sobre la base de la discriminación de género. La Corte declaró que las palabras "fragilidad" y "deshonra" contenidas en el Artículo 258 en asociación con el infanticidio eran inconstitucionales por la misma base, aunque esto no afecta el funcionamiento del delito. Además, la distinción dentro del Artículo 250 que penalizaba el abandono por parte de un padre de una mujer que no es su esposa después de dejarla embarazada pero que no se aplicaba a la esposa de un padre también se consideró inconstitucional. La Corte no estaba dispuesta a mantener las restricciones sobre el aborto como inconstitucionales. Como tal, recibir un aborto sigue prohibido según los Artículos 263 y 264, y el aborto está prohibido según el Artículo 269. Sin embargo, la Corte declaró inconstitucional los requisitos del Artículo 266 de que una mujer informe a la policía y obtenga la autorización judicial para obtener un aborto en caso de violación o incesto (artículo 266).



Agripina Guzmán Paredes de Soliz c/ Alberto Soliz Carrillo Sala Civil (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Plaintiff appealed a lower court's ruling that there was insufficient evidence to convict her husband of psychologically and physically abusing her, in violation of Art. 130-4 of the Family Code ("Codigo de Familia"). The Court reversed the lower court's finding, holding that the lower court failed to give adequate weight to evidence that proved defendant had violated Art. 130-4 by physically and psychologically abusing his wife. The Court chided the lower court for placing the plaintiff in danger and for failing to carry out its duty to prevent violence against women.



Dorotea Ortega de Guerrero c/ Efraín Guerrero Tarifa Sala Penal (1998)

Sexual violence and rape

Charges were brought against defendant for allegedly sexually abusing his 14-year old daughter for a period of 30 days while they were in Argentina. The lower court found defendant guilty of aggravated rape, in violation of Article 308-2 and 310-2 of the Penal Code. Upon defendant's appeal, the Court affirmed the lower court's ruling, holding that the victim's testimony coupled with that of the defendant's brother, who witnessed and first reported the rape, was sufficient evidence to convict the plaintiff.



Facundo Tito Pocomani c/ Félix Mamani Tite Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Defendant appealed a conviction for raping his 15-year old niece as many as three times, rape which resulted in her pregnancy. Defendant argued that the evidence against him was circumstantial and insufficient, and alleged that the victim had engaged in sexual relations with another man, from which the pregnancy resulted. The Court held that there was sufficient evidence not only of the fact that the victim was a minor at the time of the rape, but that force and intimidation had been used by the defendant. The Court affirmed the defendant's conviction.



Hilda Ana Merlo Vásquez c/ Hernán Ramos Méndez Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

Alleged victim claimed that defendant pushed her down the stairs and raped her while she was unconscious. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant, finding there was insufficient evidence to convict him of committing grave bodily injury, harassment and rape. The Appellate Court affirmed acquittals for grave bodily injury and harassment, but reversed the acquittal for rape, finding that there was sufficient medical evidence for a conviction. Medical testimony indicated that the victim had recently engaged in sexual relations, but that after the victim had fallen down the stairs, she would have been in so much pain that consensual sexual relations would have been highly unlikely. The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's ruling.



José Santos Colque Góngora c/ Angela Muriel Aguilar y otros Sala Penal (1999)

Gender-based violence in general

Jose Santos Colque Gongora, his mother, Angela Muriel Aguilar and one other woman, Marina Medina Estevez, were convicted of performing an abortion on Miriam Colque Villca without her consent, in violation of Article 263-1 of the Penal Code. The victim was Colque Gongora's wife. Colque Gongora and his mother took the victim to Medina Estevez's house, telling her it was for a check-up, at which time Medina Estevez conducted the abortion. The appellate and supreme courts affirmed the conviction.



Julia Arhuata de Flores c/ Mario Flores Flores Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant was charged with repeatedly raping his two underage daughters. The victims alleged that they did not report the incidents immediately because their father threatened them against doing so. Witnesses testified that the defendant was regularly drunk and abusive. The trial court found him guilty of rape. The appellate and supreme courts affirmed the conviction.



Lucio Rojas Lizarazu c/ Víctor Gandarillas Galarza Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Defendant was convicted of the rape of a minor age 14 to 17, in violation of Article 309 of the Penal Code. The defendant admitted to having engaged in sexual relations with the victim, but claimed the relations were consensual, and apologized for his actions. Taking into account the defendant's apology and previous record of good conduct, defendant received a prison sentence of only 4 years. Both parties appealed, but the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling, finding that the victim had failed to produce evidence of force which would carry a heavier sentence.  The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the defendant had seduced the minor, but that it had not been shown that he used force.



Manuel Enrique Peralta Cabrera c/ Eulogio Chino Poma Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant was charged with homicide and rape of a woman, in violation of Articles 251 and 308 of the Penal Code. Defendant admitted to having raped the victim, but claimed that he did not kill her, claiming he left her alone after he finished raping her. The trial court found there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant of both crimes. The appellate and supreme courts affirmed the ruling.



Miguel Flores López c/ Cresencio Vedia Quispe Sala Penal (2000)

Sexual violence and rape

Charges were brought against defendant for the aggravated rape of a 20-year old handicapped woman, suffering from muscular atrophy. According to the victim, who was the defendant's sister-in-law, the defendant entered her room, threw her on the bed, raped her and left. The defendant allegedly raped the victim a number of more times, resulting in pregnancy. The defendant then allegedly attempted unsuccessfully to induce victim's abortion, at which time the victim reported the incidents to her father. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant, holding the victim's testimony to be too inconsistent and contradictory to secure a conviction. The appellate and Supreme Court, disagreed, holding that there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.



Ministerio Público c/ Julián Cachiqui Da Costa Sala Penal (2001)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant was accused of aggravated rape of his 11-year old daughter, in violation of Art. 308 and 310-2 of the Penal Code. The defendant admitted to the rape, explaining it was an irresistible impulse. The trial court held that there was sufficient evidence not only to prove that the Defendant had raped his daughter, but that he had used force and threats of force to do so. Defendant was sentenced to 12 years in jail, and fined punitive damages. On appeal, the appellate court held that the appropriate sentence was 13 years, and that the penal code did not allow for the punitive damages. The Supreme Court affirmed.



Susana Hurtado de Barrero c/ Francisco Barranco Ramos Sala Penal (1998)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant was charged with the aggravated rape of his 9-year old daughter. After considering a medical exam that confirmed rape had occurred, and hearing testimony from the victim naming her father as the aggressor, the lower court found defendant guilty of aggravated rape. The defendant appealed, alleging the accusation of rape was an attempt by the girl's mother of getting revenge against him. Finding there to be sufficient evidence for a conviction, the Court affirmed the lower court's ruling.