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Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School - Green Background

Country Details

Chile

  • Chile v. Rodrigo Gacitua Escobar, Criminal Court of Viña del Mar, 2013, Chile, Criminal Court of Viña del Mar, 2013.
    The Criminal Court of Viña del Mar sentenced Rodrigo Gacitúa Escobar to life imprisonment for a series of robberies, rapes, and other crimes committed between 2010 and 2012. The prosecutor, Vivian Quiñones, expressed satisfaction at the result, and pointed out the impact of the testimony from the victims. The defense unsuccessfully attempted to discredit the victims’ testimony, including using postings on social media.
  • RUC 1100440193-1 RIT199-2012 (Oral Criminal Court (4° Tribunal de Juicio Oral en lo Penal de Santiago)), Chile, 4° Tribunal de Juicio Oral, 2012.
    Five defendants were charged with participating in an organized criminal group for the purpose of trafficking in persons. Each defendant was charged with having a specific function in the group for facilitating the entry of several Dominican women into Chile. The women were deceived into coming to Chile, with promises of legitimate work, such as employment in the tourism field. Upon arrival in Chile, however, the women were forced into prostitution. Four of the defendants were found guilty, and imprisoned for various amounts of time depending on their position within the criminal organization. One defendant was found not guilty on the basis that he did not have knowledge of the criminal acts.
  • Atala Riffo and Daughters v. Chile, Chile, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 2010.
    Karen Atala Riffo, a judge in Chile, and her husband separated in 2002 and agreed that she would retain custody of their three daughters. After a few years, Ms. Atala began to live with her female partner. In response, her husband filed for custody claiming that the mother’s homosexuality was detrimental to the children. The lower court confirmed the grant of custody to the mother, finding that there was no evidence that homosexuality was pathological conduct that would make Ms. Atala unfit as a mother. On appeal, however, the Supreme Court of Chile granted custody to the father, on the basis that the mother’s sexuality would cause irreversible harm to the children’s development. Ms. Atala took the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (“IACHR”), marking the first time that the IACHR heard a case related to LGBT rights. The IACHR held that sexual orientation is a suspect class and that the Chilean courts had discriminated against Atala in the custody case in violation of the American Convention’s right to equality and non-discrimination. In 2012, the court ordered Chile to pay Atala USD $50,000 in damages and $12,000 in court costs. The Chilean government agreed to abide by the IACHR’s ruling.
  • El Tribunal Constitucional de Chile, Chile, Constitutional, 2007.
    A parliamentary minority requested that the Constitutional Court declare unconstitutional a Ministry of Health decree that determined the availability of family planning methods and permitted distribution of emergency contraception by national health centers.  The constitutional court noted that the “right to life” is fundamental under the Chilean Constitution. It rejected scientific arguments that emergency contraception did not affect the life of a conceived but unborn embryo.  In a dissenting opinion, one judge noted that the rights protecting the reproductive rights of women were enshrined in CEDAW in conflict with the Constitutional Court’s decision.  The Constitutional Court’s decision did not prevent all distribution of emergency contraception in Chile, but banned it from being distributed by clinics and hospitals that are part of national health system. The constitutional court decision was effectively overruled in January 2010 by Law No. 20.418, promulgated by President Bachelet, which permitted distribution of emergency contraceptive pills in both public and private health centers, including to persons under 14 without parental consent.  The law also requires high schools to enact sexual education programs.
  • Ministerio Publico v. Jose Luis Castro (Juzgado de Garantia de Antofagasta (Warranty Court), Antofagasta), Chile, Ministerio Publico, 2007.
    The defendant was charged with trafficking in persons. He was accused of recruiting Peruvian women to come to Chile, where they then were engaged in prostitution. The defendant used an employment agency in Peru to recruit the women, who signed labor contracts to serve as waitresses in the defendant’s premises. The women victims were forced to wear provocative clothing and drink alcohol with the premises’ clients. There also was prostitution at the premises. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Chile v. Nelly Viviana Condori Nicolas, Chile, Oral Criminal Court, 2006.
    The female defendant was charged with trafficking in person for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The defendant used an employment agency in Peru to offer Peruvian women waitress jobs at her residence in Chile. She would assist them in crossing the border and would pay travel costs. Upon arrival, the victims were kept at the defendant’s residence and were forced to provide sexual services to clients arranged by the defendant. The defendant also kept the victims’ passports so that they would be unable to leave until their debts were paid. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to six months of imprisonment.
  • Naturaleza de compensación económica en divorcio, Chile, Tribunales Superiores de Justicia de Chile, 2006.
    In this divorce proceeding, the court reiterated that in situations in which one of the two parents, most commonly the mother, stays at home and thereby forfeits the opportunity to develop a career and earn a living wage, she is entitled to economic assistance from her husband if the marriage ends. This was especially relevant in this case, given that the husband had previously abused his wife, and after initially leaving him, she was forced to return to the marriage for economic reasons.
  • Rol No. 465, Chile, Constitutional Court, 2006.
    In a case challenging the constitutionality of a Ministry of Education directive setting minimum standards for pre-schools, the Court reiterated the rights of both boys and girls to receive at least a certain minimum level of education.
  • Monica Carabantes Galleguillos v. Chile, Chile, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2002.
    Discrimination against pregnant girl in school.  Chile agreed to cover the educational expenses of a pregnant teenager who was expelled from her school for being pregnant.
  • Chile v. Javier Sebastián Parra Godoy, Angol Criminal Court, 2013, Chile, Federal, .
    While the victim was sleeping, her partner Sebastian Javier Parra Godoy attacked her by striking her in the head. She suffered near-fatal head injuries as a result of the blow. On February 5, 2013, the criminal court in the province of Angol found Mr. Godoy guilty of the crime of attempted intimate femicide. In their ruling, the judges explicitly referenced the fact that the case presented a case of gender-based violence. It concluded that that Parra Godoy had acted as a result of traditional views considering women as subordinate perpetuating stereotypes of violence and coercion. The court stated that in such cases, international standards of human rights such as the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradication of Violence Against Women and the general recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) should apply. The prosecutor Raul Espinoza explained that the main challenge of the case was the absence of direct evidence because the only potential witnesses were the victim, who was sleeping at the time of the attack and who suffered neurological damage which affected her memory, and the victim’s autistic son, who was mentally handicapped. To bring the case, he relied instead on strong circumstantial evidence.