Since 1994 the brutal murders of hundreds of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez and the city of Chihuahua in northern Mexico have been met with impunity. Despite loud and persistent outcry from family members and human rights advocates across Mexico and around the world, authorities have consistently failed to adequately investigate, prosecute and prevent the murder and disappearances of countless women and girls.
However, just last week the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard its very first case focused on gender violence (and third case ever to be brought against the Mexican government). In this landmark case, the Mexican government stood before the court for its failure to investigate and justly resolve the murders of three women–Claudia Ivette González, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal and Laura Berenice Ramos Monárrez. The investigations into these murders (frequently referred to as the campo algodonero/cotton field murders due to the location where the women’s bodies were found in 2001) suffered from irregularities, corrupt practices and gross negligence from the start.
Following eight years of struggle and frustration for these victims’ families, we hope that this case serves as a breakthrough by providing them with the opportunity to attain justice for their loved ones’ murders. Whatever the court’s final decision, we hope that this landmark case will chart the course for future reforms that will result in credible investigations and prosecutions to hold guilty parties responsible, bring badly needed justice and resolution for the families of the victims of hundreds of other unresolved femicides, and create robust programs to combat gender violence throughout Mexico.
It is anticipated that the court will deliver its ruling later this year. As Mexico is a member state, findings and sanctions (like financial reparations for victims’ relatives, public acknowledgement of responsibility, measures to prevent similar violations in the future, etc.) of the Inter-American Court are binding.
Click here to learn more about this case being tried before the Inter-American Court.
Click here to read a letter (en español) from 50 Mexican and international human Rights NGOs calling for the Inter-American Court to make a decisive and strong ruling on the case of the femicides in Ciudad Juárez.
Click here to read the English translation of the letter.