The Committee of Experts of the Mechanism to Follow up on Implementation of the Convention of Belém do Pará (MESECVI) applauds the enactment of the law against femicide and notes that Colombia has joined the list of countries in the region that criminalize this act in their respective codes of criminal procedure or legislation.
According to a press release issued by the Government, the law defines femicide as an autonomous offense, guaranteeing the investigation and punishment of the forms of gender-based violence and discrimination, and strengthens the mechanisms to prevent these acts. Under the law, femicide is the murder of a woman because she is a woman, or for reasons of gender identity. It also criminalizes murder perpetrated by those who have had an intimate relationship with the victim; who perpetrate on the body and in the life of the woman acts of gender-based or sexual exploitation; perpetrate the offense by taking advantage of power relationships over the woman; and/or perpetrate the offense to create terror or humiliation in a person considered an enemy, among others.
Sanctions range from 250 to 500 months of imprisonment (16 to 41 years). The law also limits the benefits and pre-agreements available to those convicted of femicide. Investigation of femicide or attempted femicide is mandatory, and reports of femicide may not be withdrawn.
In 2008, in view of the lack of consensus regarding the characteristics of this offense, the Committee adopted la Declaration on Femicide, defining it as “the violent death of women based on gender, whether it occurs within the family, a domestic partnership, or any other interpersonal relationship; in the community, by any person, or when it is perpetrated or tolerated by the state or its agents, by action or omission.”
The Committee notes that Colombia has criminalized femicide as a way of making this offense visible and considering it an aggravating circumstances. It also invites the other countries of the region to criminalize all forms of violence against women, as indicated in the Declaration on Femicide and the Second Hemispheric Report.
The Committee of Experts is the technical organ of the MESECVI and has responsibility analyzing and evaluating the process of implementing the Convention de Belém do Pará. It is composed of independent Experts designated by each State Party from among its nationals, who serve in their personal capacity.