In a recent report released by the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH), alarming deficiencies within court procedures surrounding incidents of violence against women have been brought to light.
This report was presented during a collaborative conference with the renowned organization “Oxfam,” with a shared mission to advance gender justice and promote equal rights for women.
Anass Saadoun, an advisor to Amina Bouayach, the president of CNDH, shed light on some of the most disturbing issues plaguing the system.
At the heart of the matter lies the distressing attitudes toward women who have been victims of violent assaults. Saadoun expressed deep concern over the prevailing practice where victims, upon filing a complaint are frequently coerced to decide between pursuing the case or dropping it altogether.
Such a problematic approach perpetuates a mentality that condones violence against women.
The consequences of this distressing phenomenon are far-reaching, as it discourages many victims from speaking out and seeking justice, leaving them to silently endure their suffering.
The prevailing notion that violence is a private matter only serves to exacerbate the problem, creating an environment of impunity for perpetrators.
According to the CNDH report, existing legislation lacks specific provisions to address cases of violence against women that occur during public hearings. This crucial aspect has been overlooked, making it imperative to mandate private hearings or, at the very least, provide victims with the option to choose between public and private proceedings.
Another issue emphasized by Saadoun and the CNDH is the burden of proof placed upon the victims themselves.
The practice of demanding victims to provide proof of abuse is not only unfair but also perpetuates an unequal power dynamic.
Instead, Saadoun advocates for law enforcement bodies to take off the burden of proof in civil cases.
Furthermore, the recurrent or multiple encounters between the victims and the suspected perpetrators throughout the legal proceedings have also come under scrutiny.
Saadoun contends that subjecting victims to repeated traumatic experiences during trials is unacceptable, and he stresses the need to limit such encounters to alleviate the burden on victims.
In response to the deeply concerning findings of their report, the CNDH is urging the establishment of specialized sessions for offenses involving violence against women.
Despite recent reforms in the statute governing judicial organization, the creation of such dedicated sessions has been overlooked.
The CNDH emphasizes that this crucial step is essential to fostering a more egalitarian and sensitive justice system that adequately addresses the unique challenges faced by victims of violence against women.
With the support of Oxfam and other advocacy groups, the CNDH calls for change to dismantle systemic injustices and uphold the rights and dignity of women everywhere.