San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Law Penalizing Violence Against Women Advances

THE proposed law penalizing violence against women made some progress in Congress this week, as it was transferred Monday to the Constitutionality Commission for an analysis of the vote of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV), according to the Legislative Assembly.

The measure is scheduled to return to the floor of the assembly for a second and final vote on April 27.

The Sala IV, upon reviewing the proposed law, said it found two unconstitutional articles – numbers 21 and 31.

Article 21 would establish that the Costa Rican Social Security System and the Ministry of Justice must work together in the creation and operation of a system to carry out alternative sentences being proposed by the law and should dedicate human resources to that end.

Article 31 of the law would mandate prison sentences for those who force women to commit sexual acts causing pain or humiliation, carry out or view acts of exhibition, or watch or listen to pornographic material. The magistrates said sentences for these offenses are already outlined in current Costa Rican law, according to the assembly.

As a consequence, both articles will be reviewed by the Constitutionality Commission to see if they have been modified since the court’s ruling.

The judges did not express doubts about other portions of the proposed law, according to the assembly.

“There is a very important thing in this resolution of the Sala,” said Gloria Valerín, a Social Christian Unity Party legislator who has championed the proposed law.

“(The court) said it is constitutional, that it is not discriminatory to make laws in favor of women and we are not going to discuss that any longer.”


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