Gutiérrez Hernández et al. v. Guatemala
Right to Know the Truth | Effective Remedy | Judicial Protection
The Court recalled that when a person disappears because their whereabouts are unknown, this is not the same as an enforced disappearance, which is a phenomenon constituted of specific elements including the involvement or acquiescence of State agents. In this case, however, the Court found that as the investigations were not carried out with due diligence, it was impossible to rule out the possibility that what happened to the victim had been an enforced disappearance.
The Court highlighted that the State made a stereotyped assessment of Ms. Mayra Gutiérrez and prejudged the motive for the disappearance, focusing the investigation on her personal relationships and lifestyle. This affected the objectivity of the agents in charge of the investigation, closing possible lines of inquiry and blaming the victim for what had happened. The Court recognised that the concept of a "crime of passion" is part of a stereotype which justifies violence against women and excuses the aggressor's conduct.
September 24, 2017
Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 8(1) [ACHR], Article 24 [ACHR], Article 25 [ACHR], Article 7(b) [IACPPEVW]
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 3 [ACHR], Article 4 [ACHR], Article 5 [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 1 [IACFDP], Article 2 [IACFDP]
Facts of the Case
Ms. Mayra Angelina Gutiérrez Hernández, a university lecturer, disappeared around 7 April 2000. The investigations focused on establishing the potential responsibility of Ms. Gutiérrez Hernández's ex-partner in her disappearance, leaving aside other hypotheses that arose during the investigations, particularly those that implied the participation or acquiescence of State agents in the events.