San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Activists Say Killers of Women Go Unpunished

GUATEMALA CITY – A coalition opposing violence against women has denounced the impunity that exists in Guatemala in the murders of thousands of women over the past several years.

Of the more than 2,800 murders of women in Guatemala since 2001, only 20 cases have been brought to trial and resulted in convictions, said the network’s director, Giovanna Lemus.

So far this year, there have been 485 murders of women in Guatemala. At least another 825 women have been raped and more than 10,000 physically attacked, according to figures provided by the coalition, which includes a score of groups.

Lemus said that the Guatemalan government does not have the capacity or the apparent willingness to investigate the murders, and she called upon the state to implement programs to prevent the killings.

“Much remains to be done to end the impunity,” said the human-rights defender. According to the Institute for Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences, the lack of coordination between the police, prosecutors and the courts contributes to the authorities’ inability to solve the homicides.

In a study presented Nov. 15, the institute said that the murders of women have been characterized by “exceptional brutality and many victims have been the targets of sexual violence, mutilation and dismemberment.”


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