Why femicide or femicide is considered a specific criminal offense different from homicide

(CNN Spanish) — Femicide, also known as femicide, is the most extreme form of gender-based violence and is defined as the “intentional killing of women for being women.”

The term femicide, coined in the 1970s by Diana Russell, emerged with the political goal of “recognizing and making visible discrimination, oppression, inequality and systematic violence against women that, in its most extreme form, culminates in death.” While the Mexican Marcela Legarde, defined the term femicide as “the act of killing a woman just because she belongs to the female sex.” However, Ella Legarde gave it a political meaning with the purpose of denouncing the lack of response from the State. However, the UN recognizes that there is no agreed definition of the concepts of femicide and feminicide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the majority of femicides are committed by partners or ex-partners “and involve continuous abuse at home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations in which women have less power or less resources than their partner.

According to the UN, around 47,000 women and girls around the world were killed in 2020 by their intimate partners or other family members. This means that on average a woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes.

A global study on homicides of the UN, establishes that although men are the main victims of homicide worldwide, women represent a large majority of homicides are perpetrated by their current and former partners, by fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and other members of the family for their role and status as women.

Femicides are divided into two categories: intimate and non-intimate femicides. The first refers to the murder of women by partners or ex-partners, while the second summarizes the murder of women by people with whom they did not have an intimate relationship.

This includes women killed during armed conflict as weapons of war; so-called “honor” killings, in which a woman is killed for allegedly shaming her family; the murder of women because of their race or sexuality; femicides perpetrated by other women, acting as “agent(s) of the patriarchy”; and the murder of transgender women.

Femicide as a specific criminal offense

This is what the anti-monument of Mexico looks like that claims the struggle of women 0:34

In a large majority of countries there is no difference between femicide and homicide in criminal law. Currently, only a handful of countries legally recognize femicide as different from homicide, the vast majority of which are in Latin America.

At least 16 Latin American countries have included femicide as a specific crime, either as the incorporation of a special crime of homicide against women or as an aggravating factor of the crime of homicide.

In the specific case of Colombia, femicide was classified as an autonomous crime by Law 1761 of 2015, which defines it as the murder of a woman because of her status as a woman or because of her gender identity. This crime is aggravated when it is committed by a public servant, the victim is under 18 years of age or over 60, it is committed by several people, a sexual assault precedes it, or it is perpetrated by the victim’s partner or ex-partner.

In Mexico, for example, femicide is not only recognized in law, but in 2020 the country’s Congress approved harsher sentences for femicide: from 45 to 65 years in prison if convicted. The Mexican Federal Penal Code considers as homicide whoever “deprives another of life”, while the crime of femicide is qualified as “whoever deprives a woman of life for reasons of gender”.

However, these provisions and penalties have not resulted in higher conviction rates or a decrease in these crimes. The UNODC writes: “Countries in Latin America have adopted legislation criminalizing femicide as a specific crime in their penal codes. However, there are no signs of a decrease in the number of gender-based murders of women and girls.” .

Looking specifically at Mexico, Meghan Beatley reported for Guardian that: “Paradoxically, even when the murderers of women are caught and prosecuted, the category of femicide has made it more difficult to convict them.”

This is because prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was perpetuated because the victim was a woman.

“The notion of gender-related homicide, or femicide, requires an understanding of what acts are gender-related, something that is subject to some degree of interpretation,” writes the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, in its 2019 global homicide study. “In many cases, there is a continuum of (intimate partner) violence that culminates in the murder of women even when the perpetrators have no specific (misogynistic) motives.”

Ivana Milovanović, a Serbian judge expert on gender-based violence, told UN Women, a UN organization that advocates for women’s empowerment and gender equality, in 2020 that: “Femicide must be recognized as a specific criminal offence” .

“Femicide differs from other forms of murder because it is the gender-based murder of a woman just because she is a woman,” she explained. “This indicates that the root causes of femicide differ from other types of murder and are related to the general position of women in society, discrimination against women, gender roles, the unequal distribution of power between men and women, common gender stereotypes, prejudice and violence against women,” she added.

By including femicide in the criminal code, it first acknowledges the misogynistic nature of these crimes, but also argues for more accurate data collection, which, in turn, can lead to better policies and practices that protect women. .

The UN Statistical Commission adopted in March 2022 a new global framework to measure the gender-related murders of women and girls, allowing a more precise measurement of the extent of femicide and evaluating the global risk factors associated with this type of murder. violence.

“By providing a global definition of femicide, the new UNODC and UN Women statistical framework can help ensure that each and every woman murdered because of her gender is recognized as a victim of this terrible crime, and that justice can be served. . Armed with better information, countries can better tailor efforts to prevent and end gender-based killings of women and girls,” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said in a press release.

For her part, Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, acknowledged that the lack of evidence is an obstacle that prevents combating one of the most extreme forms of violence against women. “Implementing this framework will give us comparable national data and global and regional estimates that can help us monitor progress and take decisive action to end gender-related killings of women and girls,” said Bahous.

With information from CNN’s Adie Vanessa Offion

#femicide #femicide #considered #specific #criminal #offense #homicide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.