In 2013, a woman’s ex-partner wounded her with a machete and knife as she was arriving home at midnight. When the victim’s sister intervened, the man punched the sister and ran off. For his attack against his ex-partner, the man was charged with attempted homicide, a violation of both the general penal code and the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence (the “statute”). For his attack against the sister, he was charged with physical violence, a violation of the statute. Amended in 2014, the statute created special courts with exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases brought under the statute, but a subsequent Supreme Court decision clarified that all types of homicide offenses occurring prior to the amendment remained within the jurisdiction of ordinary courts. During the preliminary hearing, the ordinary court found that the allegations did not support the attempted homicide charge but rather the offense of “minor injuries,” a violation of the statute. Accordingly, the ordinary court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction and thus referred the case to the special court. In turn, finding that the allegations did support a homicide charge, the special court also concluded that it lacked jurisdiction. When the jurisdictional conflict was certified to the Supreme Court, it held that the special court had exclusive jurisdiction. The Court explained that the classification of the “homicide” charge was of no consequence, because the charge against the sister vested jurisdiction in the special court over all related charges involving gender violence.
Sentencia nº 357 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Número de Expediente: CC15-173)