M.Z. Case
Discrimination against women within the Bolivian justice system
Bolivia

On October 2nd, 1994, 30 year-old M.Z. was raped in her home in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Despite her denunciation and evidence of sexual assault, Bolivia's judicial system ended up absolving the rapist.

Given the violations to judicial guarantees to the right of protection and equality in the eyes of the law--rights protected by the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para)--, CEJIL, the Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM), and the Oficina Jurídica para la Mujer, took the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 

M.Z.'s case is an example of the situation faced by many women in Bolivia who are victims of sexual violence that are later re-victimized and discriminated agaist by the judicial system. According to a report issued by the UN in 2014, an estimated 80% of all cases of sexual violence against women in Bolivia remain in absolute impunity.

Case Impact

  • The State of Bolivia stated its committement to implementing a series of public policies that would guarantee the rights of all Bolivian women.
  • Special units for victims and witnesses were created to provide legal, psychological, and social services assistance. These units were established in Tarija, Potosí, Beni, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba and La Paz.
  • The Inter-American Commission, and CLADEM-Bolivia coordinated a special training activity with the Supreme Court on the Belem do Para Convention