Women and Justice: Location

Domestic Case Law

Case of Sebastian Ramirez Ledesma Supreme Court (1999)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

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



Case of Joao María Dos Santos Supreme Court (1997)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

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



Case of Francisco Ramírez Irala Supreme Court (2011)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

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



Case of Emilio Garay Franco Supreme Court (1996)

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

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

 

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



Case of Clarisa Velázquez de Acosta Supreme Court (1995)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

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



Case of Juan Alveiro Gómez Supreme Court (1997)

Sexual violence and rape

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



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.



Case of Lucia Sandoval Prosecution Appeal Court (Fiscalía apelará del tribunal) (2014)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination

On August 27, 2014 Lucia Sandoval was acquitted after the court found insufficient evidence of her involvement in her husband’s death. In 2011, Sandoval was charged for the intended homicide of her husband. She subsequently spent over three years in prison awaiting trial. The incident that formed the basis for the charges took place on February 11, 2011, when Lucia Sandoval informed her husband that she had filed a complaint of domestic violence and had obtained a restraining order against him, which required him to leave their home. Sandoval’s husband responded violently and threatened her with a gun. When Sandoval tried to escape, a physical fight ensued and the gun was fired, resulting in her husband’s death. Amnesty International Paraguay, the Committee of Latin America and the Caribbean for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) and Catholics for the Right to Decide (CDD Paraguay) helped advocate as to Sandoval’s innocence. These organizations claimed that “the first failure of the judicial system was that protection measures [for] . . . Sandoval were not applied. The court gave the [restraining] order to Sandoval, instead of sending the notice to the Police for it to be given to [her] husband.” The organizations noted that Paraguay had passed a law against domestic violence in 2000 but contended that the law “does not comprehensively address the problem, no[r] does it allow for a coordinated and coherent system in the country to collect data about gendered violence.” It should be noted that in 2013, the Human Rights Commission at the United Nations recommended that Paraguay implement a law to “prevent, punish, and eradicate gender violence, as well as assure that complain[t]s of domestic violence are effectively investigated, with perpetrators being punished appropriately and the survivors receiving attention and compensation.” Background information available at http://blog.amnestyusa.org/americas/victory-in-paraguay-is-a-big-step-fo... http://www.cladem.org/paraguay/Lucia-Sandoval-absuelta.pdf http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/country/amnesty_international/2014/Peru.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk6bjsNKmrM



Mario Ramón González Cáceres, Raúl Antonio Maidana Duarte y Carolina Maidina Duarte sobre trata de personas en Independencia, Paraguay Court of Appeal of Paraguay (2005)

Trafficking in persons

Defendants were convicted in a Paraguayan trial court for mistreatment of persons, in violation of Article 129 of the Penal Code, for deceiving several women into thinking that the defendants had found them jobs as grocery store cashiers in Spain, and then trying to force the women to work at a brothel upon arrival in Spain. The Appellate Court reversed the conviction, saying the trial court lacked jurisdiction because in a case where a crime begins in one jurisdiction and is completed in another, the latter jurisdiction, in this case Spain, should hear the case. The Supreme Court, Penal division, disagreed with the appellate court, holding that the trial court did have jurisdiction, and further held that the conviction was consistent with Article 6 of the American Convention on Human Rights (“Pact of San Jose”), Article 8 of the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, Articles 2 and 3 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, and Articles 3 and 5 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children.



Oscar Eugenio Paniagua Batochi s/ Coacción Sexual en San Juan Neponuceno Sala de Acuerdos los Señores Ministros de la Excelentísima Corte Suprema de Justicia Sala Penal (2005)

Sexual violence and rape

The Supreme Court, Penal division, upheld the conviction of a defendant who raped his stepdaughter under threat of death or grievous injury. The Court held that the conviction was consistent with Article 54 of the National Constitution, Article 19 of the American Convention on Human Rights ("Pact of San Jose"), Article 24 of the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3 of the Code of Children and Adolescents, and Article 1 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women.



International Case Law

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

Property and inheritance rights

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



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

Property and inheritance rights

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



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

Property and inheritance rights

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