González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Children/Youth | Systemic Practice | Duty to Investigate | Reparations | Guarantees of Non-Repetition | Obligation to Prevent

Themes: Memory and Reparations | Persons and Groups Affected | Prevention | Justice and Truth

The Court highlighted that the obligation to conduct an effective investigation is broader in scope in the case of a woman who may have been killed or ill-treated, or whose personal liberty was affected, within a wider context of violence against women. Citing the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death, the Court referred to the importance of the proper handling and documentation of crime scenes; collection of evidence; recording of the chain of custody; proper undertaking of autopsies; and identification and return of the bodies. Given the serious situation of violence against women in Ciudad Juárez, the Court ordered, amongst other measures, reparations to prevent, document and investigate violence against women. The Court recalled that the State’s obligation to investigate must be complied with diligently to avoid impunity and the repetition of such acts.

Judgment Date

November 16, 2009

Country

Mexico

Judicial Body

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 2 [ACHR], Article 4(1) [ACHR], Article 5(1) [ACHR], Article 5(2) [ACHR], Article 7(1) [ACHR], Article 8(1) [ACHR], Article 11 [ACHR], Article 19 [ACHR], Article 25(1) [ACHR], Article 7(b) [IACPPEVW], Article 7(c) [IACPPEVW]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 4 [ACHR], Article 5 [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 11 [ACHR]

Facts of the Case

Since 1993, Ciudad Juárez faced a serious situation of violence against women, including enforced disappearances and homicides, to which the State responded poorly. In this context, following their disappearance, three women (two of whom were young adults) were found dead in a cotton field, showing signs of sexual torture.

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