(posted June 12, 8:00 a.m.)- International human rights group Women’s Link Worldwide has “awarded” Nicaragua’s Supreme Court the “Public’s Bludgeon award” for its noteworthy handling of the Fatima Hernández case.
“The court reduced a rape conviction on the grounds that the defendant was in a state of sexual agitation as a result of alcohol consumption and the argument that the victim had been cooperating with her attacker,” Women’s Link notes in its ironic award for Nicaragua’s justice system.
The group announced the fourth “Gender Justice Uncovered Awards” last week in Barcelona to honor the world’s “most progressive and retrograde judicial decisions in terms of gender equality in the world.”
Nicaragua, fittingly, got its award in the “people’s choice” category of the Bludgeon awards, handed out for judicial decisions that adversely affect gender equality. The people’s choice award was the only one given out based on Internet voting from around the world.
In the judges’ category, the booby prizes went to courts in the United States, Puerto Rico and Afghanistan.
The Bronze Bludgeon: The Supreme Court of the United States who used a procedural argument that prevented one and a half million women, all employees of a large department store (Wal-Mart), from obtaining reparations for gender-based discrimination they had suffered. The Supreme Court ruled that the women did not have enough in common to file a class action lawsuit against the company to denounce the policy of gender discrimination in relation to wages and promotions.
The Silver Bludgeon: The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, this court determined that a married woman who was beaten by her lover is not entitled to protection against-gender based violence within an “adulterous” relationship because according to the court this law is intended solely to protect women in a traditional marriage.
The Gold Bludgeon: The Judicial Commission of Afghanistan for the Gulnaz case, in which an Afghan woman who, upon reporting that she had been a victim of rape was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime of adultery. Subsequently the authorities offered her freedom in exchange for agreeing to marry her attacker.
The Gavel awards for judicial decisions that positively affect gender equality went to:
The Bronze Gavel: The Electoral Tribunal of the Federation Judiciary of Mexico. In this case the court required the political parties to respect the electoral quota laws for women in order to avoid the phenomenon known as “Las Juanitas”, a name for the women who, once elected, yield their positions to an alternate male under orders from their party. It is noteworthy that the court decides to comment on how the law should be applied in order to fulfill its objective.
The Silver Gavel: The Supreme Court of Bangladesh for a case in which the court states that forcing a woman to wear a veil publicly and classifying a woman as a prostitute for not wearing a veil, is a violation of women’s rights and contrary to the Bangladesh Constitution. This is a tremendously bold decision within its context.
The Gold Gavel: The Administrative Tribunal of Cairo, for its decision to ban the military practice called “virginity tests” in military prisons to female detainees following the 2011 “Arab Spring” demonstrations. The court finds that the conduct of the armed forces in conducting these tests violates the constitution and represents a violation of the sanctity of the bodies of women and a violation of their human dignity. This decision is extremely important given the statements by senior military officers that this case did not include “descent” women because they were protesting on the street alongside men.
Founded in 2001, Women’s Link is an international nonprofit organization with regional headquarters in Spain and Bogota. The group works to ensure gender equality and women’s rights through the implementation of international human-rights standards.