IACHR Files Case Concerning Mexico with IA Court over the Disappearance, Sexual Violence, and Death of an Adolescent Girl in Ciudad Juárez

March 11, 2024

Related links

Notification to the IA Court

Contact info

IACHR Press Office

[email protected]

Distribution List

Subscribe to our distribution list

Washington, D.C. — On December 28, 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) over case 12.853, concerning the disappearance, rape, and subsequent discovery of the body of 17-year-old Lilia Alejandra García Andrade in Ciudad Juárez in 2001, as well as for the lack of due diligence in the investigation.

Her mother, Norma Esther Andrade, reported her disappearance to the authorities on the day it took place but was told to wait 72 hours before a search could begin. The authorities also suggested that she and her expartner look for the missing girl themselves. Her body was found seven days later, and an investigation into homicide and sexual violence was opened, as confirmed by the autopsy.

In 2010, the State Attorney General's Office found a match between the genetic profile of Lilia Alejandra García's assailant and that of four other women victims of sexual violence. Norma Esther Andrade has suffered threats and attacks, as have people who have supported and accompanied her in her quest for justice.

In Merits Report 266/21, the IACHR found that the state authorities did not act with urgency, showed discriminatory bias, and neglected the report of Lilia Garcia's disappearance. The investigation found shortcomings in the search operations, lack of planning, lack of contextual and gender analysis, and a nine-year delay in conducting genetic tests that provided clues but did not clarify the identity of the perpetrators. It also underlined that no protection was provided for Norma Andrade, the victim's mother, and the impunity surrounding the attacks against her, while noting the impact of Liliana García's disappearance on her daughter and son.

The IACHR concluded that the State is responsible for violating the rights to life (article 4), personal integrity (article 5), personal liberty (article 7), and equality (article 24) of the American Convention in relation to articles 1.1 and 2. It also found that the State failed to comply with its obligation to prevent violence against women under article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará, and articles 1, 6, and 8 of the IACPWC, to the detriment of Lilia Alejandra García Andrade. The State also violated the rights to personal integrity (article 5), judicial guarantees (article 8), protection of the family (article 17), and judicial protection (article 25), in relation to articles 1.1 and 2, and failed to comply with its obligation to punish and eradicate violence against women (article 7) under the aforementioned instruments, to the detriment of Norma Andrade and the daughter and son of Lilia García Andrade.

The IACHR recommended that the State implement the following measures of reparation:

  1. Provide economic compensation and satisfaction to the mother, daughter, and son of Lilia Alejandra García.
  2. Continue the criminal investigation effectively and diligently, including a gender perspective, in order to clarify the facts, determine responsibility, and apply sanctions.
  3. Include a gender perspective in the protocols for searching for missing persons in accordance with inter-American standards and principles of nondiscrimination.
  4. Develop indicators on access to justice for women and girls, evaluate responses to gender-based violence, and implement measures to comply with search protocols.
  5. Provide training on equality and nondiscrimination for police officers, prosecutors, and search commissions involved in cases of women's disappearance.
  6. Evaluate and strengthen the judicial response to reports of missing women, identifying shortcomings and implementing plans to address them.
  7. Take a transparent approach to evaluating public policies and actions against gender-based violence, in order to strengthen measures and comply with obligations to prevent, investigate, and sanction obligations.
  8. Strengthen the institutional capacity of judicial bodies to investigate human rights violations against women by providing financial, human, and training resources to combat impunity and ensure adequate sanctions and reparations.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 050/24

4:19 PM