IACHR Files Case Concerning Nicaragua with IA Court on Lack of Due Diligence in Femicide Investigation

March 11, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — On February 22, 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) over the case of Dina Carrión and others, concerning Nicaragua's international responsibility for the lack of due diligence in the criminal investigation into the victim's death.

Dina Carrión was in the middle of divorce proceedings and had custody of her son when she was found dead in her home in April 2010. According to reports from her family, she was experiencing violence at the hands of her ex-partner. The family rejected the medical-legal opinion that found the cause of her death to be suicide.

The investigation opened by the Public Prosecutor's Office concluded that the cause of death was suicide and closed the case. The case was subsequently reviewed, and charges were filed against the victim's former partner, but these proceedings were suspended after an administrative injunction was filed, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Justice in 2019.

In its admissibility and merits report, the IACHR deemed that the State did not investigate the facts diligently, with a gender perspective. Various irregularities, shortcomings, and contradictions in the proceedings were found, along with possible interference in the scene of the crime, inadequate collection and preservation of evidence, and shortfalls in autopsy findings.

The IACHR established that there had been a lack of due diligence, given that gender violence was not taken into account in the investigation. It also took into consideration the increase in violence against women in Nicaragua and the absence of effective mechanisms for reporting this. Likewise, it noted that the initial investigation only considered the hypothesis of suicide, despite evidence that pointed to femicide.

Gender stereotypes were also identified in the investigation, which claimed that the suicide was related to "Dina Carrión's emotional instability, psychiatric history, separation from her partner, and alcohol consumption." Furthermore, there was a legal delay in the investigation carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office, which had an impact on the Supreme Court's decision and prevented the criminal proceedings from continuing.

The IACHR deemed that the State of Nicaragua violated the rights to judicial guarantees, judicial protection, and the duty to investigate acts of violence against women to the detriment of Dina Carrión as enshrined in Articles 8, 24, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, in relation to Article 1.1 and Article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará.

With respect to the rights of the victim's son and his maternal family, the IACHR deemed that the State did not adopt the necessary measures effectively and promptly to ensure his well-being and his relationship with his relatives, thus violating the rights to personal integrity, judicial guarantees, the protection of the family, and judicial protection, and children's rights enshrined in articles 5, 8, 17, 17.1, 19, and 25, in relation to Article 1.1 of the American Convention.

In its report, the IACHR made the following recommendations to the State of Nicaragua:

  1. Provide comprehensive material and moral redress to Dina Carrión's family.
  2. Provide physical and mental healthcare measures for Dina Carrión's son and relatives.
  3. Take measures to ensure that her son re-establishes and maintains ties with his maternal family.
  4. Reopen the criminal investigation with a gender perspective diligently and effectively and within a reasonable period to clarify the facts, identify those responsible for them, and sanction them, as appropriate.
  5. Provide training for authorities at the Public Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary on the gender approach when investigating women's deaths, ensuring that appropriate mechanisms for reporting violence against women ae in place, such as Women's and Children's Police Stations, and strengthening these mechanisms.
  6. Adopt measures to strengthen institutional capacity for the investigation of violence against women.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 051/22

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