Crimes Without Punishment: An Update on Violence Against Women and Impunity in Guatemala
29 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2013
Building on previous studies, this article provides a brief overview of the prevalence and patterns of violence against women in Guatemala, a country with one of the highest rates of femicide, or gender-motivated killings of women, in the world. It looks at some of the government’s nascent efforts to implement laws and policies aimed at preventing and punishing femicide and other gender-based violence, examines statistics that show these efforts have not effectively reduced levels of violence or impunity, and analyzes the principal barriers to effective implementation of the laws. In the end, the article recommends that - beyond the creation of additional specialized courts, continued trainings of justice system officials, and improved investigatory procedures, efforts the Guatemalan government has begun - the Guatemalan government should institute a monitoring program to evaluate the performance of public officials in carrying out their obligations to apply the laws on gender violence. Additionally, the government should create a system to impose disciplinary actions, including ultimate dismissal of those who fail to apply the laws effectively and without gender bias because, ultimately, without a way to evaluate and impose serious sanctions upon public officials tasked with applying the law, there will never be meaningful change.
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