Guatemala: No protection, no justice: killings of women (an update)

July 18, 2006

Guatemala: No protection, no justice: killings of women (an update)

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(12) Even within the same unit statistics for murders of women and girls during 2005 have differed. In April 2006 AI was informed that 552 women were murdered during 2005. A previous document from the same unit, however, stated that this figure was 665, of which 195 of the cases were termed as "non-violent" deaths. These "non-violent" deaths included 54 cases where the cause of death was unknown; 39 of the cases were death via suffocation through submersion. Press reports, quoting the PNC, have consistently quoted 640 cases of murdered women during 2005.

(13) Prensa Libre, 'Jueces y fiscales se inculpan por la falta de fallos condenatorios', 3 March 2006.

(14) For example see Femicidio en Guatemala: crimenes contra la humanidad, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG), November 2005, p67-90. (see; Análisis del Feminicidio en Guatemala. Comisión de la Mujer del Congreso de la República. April 2006; Asesinatos de mujeres: Expresión del Feminicidio en Guatemala, CALDH, December 2005; Identificación de patrones existents en el asesinato de mujeres en Guatemala y similitudes con los crimenes del pasado, Sobrevivientes, December 2005 (see

(15) Informe de muertes violentas de mujeres 2005. Human Rights Ombudsman's Office.

(16) Interview with Sergio Morales, Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman, Violencia se ensaña con mujeres en Guatemala, La Nación, San José, Costa Rica, 4 April 2006.

(17) The Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Life informed AI that during 2005 it secured 11convictions in cases of murdered women. The remaining four cases are cases from outside the department of Guatemala.

(18) Cases of Maria A. López Camas and Suly Niseyda Leonardo and Maria C. Menchu Tacan.

(19) Quoted in the press: La Nación, Violencia se ensana con mujeres en Guatemala, 2 April 2006.

(20) See La Nación, Violencia se ensaña con mujeres en Guatemala, 2 April 2006 and Feminicidio en Guatemala. Crímenes contra la Humanidad, November 2005, p97.

(21) See Memoria de Labores 2005. Ministerio Público,

(22) La Justicia en Guatemala: Un Largo Camino por Recorrer. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), December 2005, p 79, see

(23) See Policía Nacional Civil busca investigadores, El Periodico, 6 January 2006.

(24) Interview with Female Homicide Unit of the PNC, 6 April 2006.

(25) Article 107 of the Procedural Penal Code establishes that the PUBLIC MINISTRY directs criminal investigations. The PNC investigators are obliged to submit two police reports to the PUBLIC MINISTRY, one after 24 hours and the other after 72 hours.

(26) Op.Cit; ICJ p47.

(27) In one of the initial police reports submitted to the Public Ministry the police investigator reportedly suggested that a search be carried out of the property of a man who had previously harassed Cristina and that there were two witnesses who were mugged, apparently by the same individuals who abducted Cristina, but had failed to contribute to the construction of an identikit picture of the suspects. Telephone interview with police investigador, 16 May 2006

(28) The PDH had previously requested that the Constitutional Court (CC) issue a resolution which would empower the PDH to oversee the investigation of the cases within the Public Ministry, however, the CC responded that this was not necessary as the PDH, in line with article 275 of the Guatemalan Constitution, are already empowered to do so.