Nearly 12 years after being beaten and raped by members of the Mexican military, two indigenous activists from Guerrero – Ines Fernandez Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantù – are finally seeing justice!
On January 14, 2014, indictments were issued against four former military officer accused of rape, torture and abuse of authority. They are currently in detention awaiting trial.
On February 16, 2002 Ines and Valentina, from the Me’phaa nation, were raped and beaten by officers in the Mexican army. Although they reported the assaults to the appropriate authorities, no proper investigation was launched, and justice was denied in their case. In reporting the attacks, Ines, Valentina and their families became targets of harassment and hostility at the hands of the Mexican authorities. Undaunted, the women courageously continued their struggle to obtain justice for the crimes committed against them.
In August 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued two judgments against Mexico, ordering a full investigation into the matter by civilian authorities, as well as reforms to the military justice system. The court also ordered that reparations be paid and protection provided to the women and their families. Crucially, the court ruled that the women were victims of sexual violence by the military and that the state of Mexico had violated their human rights by denying them access to justice. The latest indictments are an important milestone not only for Ines and Valentina, but for all women who have been victims of sexual violence in Mexico and Central America.