Inter-American Court of Justice Rebukes Government of Mexico for Inaction in Femicide Cases
Friday, December 11, 2009 3:25 PM

10 December 2009


In a 156-page decision (Spanish only) released this week, the Inter-American Court of Justice found that the Mexican government did not uphold the human rights of its citizens by failing to investigate the deaths of three women in Ciudad Juarez, which has been the site of massive, and unsolved, femicide since 1993. This represents the first time that an international tribunal has rebuked Mexico for its inaction in the deaths of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez. The court ruled that the Mexican government has to pay more than $200,000 to each of the families of the three women, take steps to find the perpetrators of the femicide, and create a monument in commemoration of hundreds of murder victims.


The families of the three women, Claudia Ivette Gonzalez, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, and Laura Berencie Ramos Monarrez, took their cases to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2002 with the support of advocacy organizations. The Court heard the case in April 2009.


The ruling is not subject to appeal.


Estimates of the number of women killed since the femicide began in 1993 range from 350 to nearly 1000. Most of the victims are young women who work in maquiladoras, factories on the border of the U.S. The majority were lived in or near Ciudad Juarez and came from middle- and working-class households.


Activist groups in Ciudad Juarez have long called for an end to impunity for the killings. Despite the creation of a forensics laboratory, verbal agreements to solve the cases, and the naming of a special prosecutor to handle the femicide, few of the murder cases have been solved, and 18 women have gone missing in 2009 alone.


Compiled from: Ken Ellingwood “Court cites rights failure by Mexico in Juarez killings of womenThe Los Angeles Times; (11 December 2009); Elizabeth Malkin, “Mexico: Rebuke on Investigation of MurdersThe New York Times (10 December 2009).