DPLF presents brief from Amicus Curiae in the Case of Manuela et al. V. El Salvador

18 Mar 2021

The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) presents an Amicus Curiae brief before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the Case of Manuela et al. V. El Salvador. Said Amicus provides arguments related to respect for the judicial guarantees recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights — specifically the rights of the presumption of innocence and defense—in contexts of structural, intersectional or compound discrimination against women.

The Case of Manuela refers to a poor Salvadoran woman who suffered an obstetric emergency while giving birth. She was taken to a hospital, where she was reported to the authorities by her medical staff, who accused her of having aborted her baby. Later, she was convicted of the crime of aggravated murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. While in prison, her health deteriorated, and after several months she was diagnosed with cancer. Her cancer was not treated in a timely manner, and the delay in treatment cost Manuela her life in 2010.

In these cases, the authorities in charge of the investigation, such as the investigative police and prosecutors, have the duty to act with enhanced due diligence that incorporates the gender perspective from the first steps and eliminates all prejudice and gender stereotypes, in order to effectively guarantee the presumption of innocence of the woman under investigation. Likewise, a technical defense, to which the Court has extensively referred in its jurisprudence, is a right that must be guaranteed by the State from the beginning, ensuring that this defense incorporates the gender perspective and is also provided with enhanced due diligence.

Given the public and collective significance of this cause for Salvadoran society, DPLF wanted to contribute, hoping that our contribution will be taken into account in deciding the case.

Read the Amicus Curiae here (Spanish only).