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News > Uruguay

Uruguay: Victims of Sexual Torture Seek Justice Before the IACHR

  • The handkerchiefs read,

    The handkerchiefs read, "Memory, Truth, Justice," and "We are all relatives," Montevideo, Uruguay. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 March 2021

Sexual violence was a war weapon to humiliate and punish political prisoners during the dictatorship (1973-1985).

Twenty-eight female political prisoners who were victims of sexual torture during Uruguay's military dictatorship (1973-1985) demanded justice before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).


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"We have been denouncing these abuses for years, but the investigations have made almost no progress," victim Jacqueline Gurruchaga said during a public hearing with IACHR representatives.

In 2011, when Uruguay annulled the Expiry Law that offered amnesty for the dictatorship's crimes, 28 women filed a complaint against over 100 aggressors for sexual violence and rape.

"We denounced officers, doctors, psychologists, and soldiers. Only one was prosecuted for the crime of forced arrest and not for torture or sexual violence, even though he confessed to them during the trial," Gurruchaga added.

At least 70 percent of the about 200 cases opened for sexual violence and torture crimes during the dictatorship are in the initial stage of the investigation. 

"In Uruguay, sexual violence was a war weapon to humiliate and punish female political prisoners. Currently, little has been done to achieve justice for these crimes," the victim Maria Noel explained.

During the hearing, Foreign Affairs Ministry representative Marina Sande admitted that her country's judicial system has flaws and that processes are delayed due to excessive bureaucracy. 

"However, the government recognizes, condemns, and repudiates the atrocious, aberrant crimes and abuses committed during the dictatorial period," she said.

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