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Good news: Mexican soldiers accused of rape and torture stand trial

    February 24, 2014

    Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú. © CDHM Tlachinollan

    Four members of the armed forces, accused of torture and sexual violence against two women in Mexico, have been detained to stand trial.

    Since 2002, Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú have been fighting for justice against the Mexican soldiers who raped them in separate attacks.

    Following the failure of an original trial conducted through the military courts, Ines and Valentina appealed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).

    In August 2010, the IACtHR issued two judgements against Mexico and ordered a full civilian investigation, as well as reparations and reforms to the military justice system.

    Over three years later the Government has finally brought the accused to trial. This represents a huge step towards achieving justice for the two women.

    Both Inés and Valentina demonstrated great courage in reporting their ordeals, in a country where women who suffer rape rarely file a complaint due to cultural, economic and social barriers. Thank you to the activists around the world who responded to Amnesty International's appeal to join their courageous efforts for justice.

    Ines and Valentina’s case also featured in the 2011 Write for Rights campaign. Supporters all over the world sent appeals to Mexico’s President, urging him to ensure authorities conducted a prompt, full and impartial investigation into the rape and torture. Activists also sent letters of support to Valentina and Ines.

    The Mexican authorities’ efforts to prevent and punish crimes against women are frequently inadequate, despite increasing public awareness. This latest success story represents a beacon of hope towards ending the vicious cycle of impunity within the Mexican justice system.

    Amnesty International is currently campaigning for Miriam Lopez, who, much like Valentina and Inés, is seeking justice for the torture and rape she suffered at the hands of Mexican soldiers in 2011.