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A victory for Jineth Bedoya and all Colombian survivors of sexual violence

Jineth Bedoya speaks about victims of sexual violence at the IACHR on 22 October 2015
Jineth Bedoya speaks about victims of sexual violence at the IACHR on 22 October 2015

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos via flickr

This is a translation of a statement that was originally published on flip.org.co on 2 February 2016.

A year ago Mario Jaimes Mejía, alias “El Panadero”, was brought to trial on charges of kidnapping, torture and sexual violence against journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima. Today, 2 February 2016, after a year of unjustified delays, the accused confessed that he is responsible, accepted a plea bargain, and recognized that the crimes he was charged with are crimes against humanity.

It has been over 15 years since Jineth went to the Modelo prison to interview “El Panadero” as part of an investigation into arms trafficking in prisons. Since 25 May 2000 there have been calls for the people involved in the crime to be identified and punished.

Today, after a lengthy personal battle, one which has seen Jineth re-victimized, as is often the case with female victims, justice now backs her account of the crimes and has recognized that what she has been saying all along is the truth, a position that signals a drastic shift away from all the strategies of stigmatization that have been used against her over the years. The perpetrator, Mario Jaimes Mejía, could no longer maintain his lies and evade justice. He had no choice but to accept responsibility.

The organisations FLIP and SISMA Mujer hope that the sentence given to Jaimes Mejía “El Panadero” will fully guarantee Jineth Bedoya's rights to truth, justice and comprehensive reparation, and that it helps to set a precedent in favour of all women victims of sexual violence and other human rights abuses, such as those in this case, so that that they are never repeated.

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