Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

Nicaragua: Update to NIC29755.E of 3 July 1998 on the refusal of magistrates and judges to proceed with cases falling under the terms of Law 230; whether local courts continue to hear cases under Law 230 without the authority to do so; the impact of a Supreme Court opinion to the effect that measures to protect victims of domestic violence should be ordered by means of a summary hearing; whether forensic physicians are available to assess victims; whether the proposals of the Inter-Institutional Committee to solve problems in the application of Laws 230, 150 and 143 have been adopted; whether police officers continue to reach extra-judicial settlements in cases of domestic violence; whether the Law on the Organization and Implementation of the State has been implemented; update to NIC2954.E of 17 June 1998 on whether the Criminal Procedures Code has been amended to ensure conformity with Law 230; existence of centres offering psychiatric or psychological services to victims of domestic violence; existence of educational programs for police officers in the area of domestic violence; whether educational programs have been initiated to foster a better understanding of the meaning of psychic injury

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 26 April 2000
Citation / Document Symbol NIC33908.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Nicaragua: Update to NIC29755.E of 3 July 1998 on the refusal of magistrates and judges to proceed with cases falling under the terms of Law 230; whether local courts continue to hear cases under Law 230 without the authority to do so; the impact of a Supreme Court opinion to the effect that measures to protect victims of domestic violence should be ordered by means of a summary hearing; whether forensic physicians are available to assess victims; whether the proposals of the Inter-Institutional Committee to solve problems in the application of Laws 230, 150 and 143 have been adopted; whether police officers continue to reach extra-judicial settlements in cases of domestic violence; whether the Law on the Organization and Implementation of the State has been implemented; update to NIC2954.E of 17 June 1998 on whether the Criminal Procedures Code has been amended to ensure conformity with Law 230; existence of centres offering psychiatric or psychological services to victims of domestic violence; existence of educational programs for police officers in the area of domestic violence; whether educational programs have been initiated to foster a better understanding of the meaning of psychic injury, 26 April 2000, NIC33908.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad713c.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Please refer to the following questions, sent by the Research Directorate on 28 February 2000 to the Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia (Women's Anti-Violence Network), a Managua-based non-governmental organization, and the accompanying answers provided by a member of the Commission for Legal Affairs and Police Stations (Comision Juridica y de Comisarias) on 6 March 2000:

: According to your letter dated 17 June 1998, judges and magistrates in the departments of Granada, Río San Juan and Puerto Cabezas have stated that they will not process any case covered by Law No. 230 as the law is not clear.Is that still the case?

: Application of the law continues to depend on the level of awareness of the judicial authorities and, to a large extent, on the diligence shown by the lawyers or public defenders representing the centres or collectives of the women's movement.

: According to your letter, the Supreme Court of Justice issued an opinion to the effect that the advisability of protection measures for victims of domestic violence should be determined through preliminary proceedings.What was the effect of that opinion?Have the authorities changed the procedures?

: The Supreme Court of Justice has not officially issued an opinion on application of the law.  Yes, some magistrates have stated that protection measures must be ordered in a preventive manner but that they must then be followed by judicial proceedings that allow for the defence of aggressors and subsequent verification of complaints.  These opinions have distorted the protection measures since cases of domestic violence require rapid measures to ensure victims' personal safety.

: Are there forensic doctors in Nicaragua with a specialty in psychology who can issue an assessment in cases of sexual or physical abuse of women?

: A Forensic Medicine Institute currently operates out of Managua and has a FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST on staff.  However, there are no appointed forensic psychologists in the rest of the country.  The result is that in cases of emotional abuse, assessments generally issued by psychologists who provide assistance at women's centres in cases of violence are invalidated in trials.In Managua, all cases of domestic or sexual violence or alleged disturbances of prisoners [sic] from the 16 courts (local and district) are sent to the forensic psychiatrist, who is only assisted by one psychologist also appointed by the Forensic Medicine Institute, for an expert opinion.  Logically speaking, it is technically and humanly impossible to ensure efficient care under these circumstances.

: According to your letter, the Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia [Women's Anti-Violence Network] participated in the Interinstitutional Commission in which proposed solutions relating to the application of Laws Nos. 230, 150 and 143 were issued.  Have the authorities put those proposals into practice?

: To date, the Interinstitutional Commission has been working on creating a National Anti-Violence Plan, but has only made progress with respect to drafting the first assessments.

: According to your letter, efforts were being made to prevent out-of-court settlements in police institutions, something which is still a common practice.  Have those efforts been effective? 

: An institutional order was issued by the National Police to prohibit out-of-court settlements in cases of domestic violence.However, it has come to our attention that such settlements continue to be reached — though verbally only — in many police stations, which further endangers victims.

: According to your letter, the Law respecting the Organization and Functioning of the State, which calls for the creation of the Ministry of the Family, was approved in 1998.  Has the Law entered into force?  Have the authorities established the Ministry of the Family?

: Yes, the Ministry of the Family began functioning in 1999 under the State Organization Law, with the Nicaraguan Women's Institute (INIM) reporting to it.  The Ministry has, in practice, stripped the Institute of its autonomy and its policies have thus far done nothing to solve the problem of violence since the officials at its helm have infused those policies with totally conservative and religious ideological concepts.

: Have the authorities amended the Criminal Procedures Code to ensure that it conforms to Law No. 230?

: Total reform of the Criminal Code has been under discussion since last year and we, through the Network, have had an impact through our participation in the consultations carried out by the Justice Commission of the National Assembly to ensure that the progress made with Law No. 230 is maintained and that domestic violence is classified as a crime.Discussion and approval by the National Assembly of the new Criminal Code is currently pending.

: Does Nicaragua currently have centres that offer psychiatric or psychological services to victims of domestic violence?

: Psychological care for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence continues to be guaranteed by civil society through the various women's organizations, collectives and centres.

: Are there programs to raise the awareness of police officers with respect to domestic violence?

: There are police training programs at the national level designed to ensure specialized treatment in cases of violence, and the organizations, centres or collectives of the women's network in each territory provide training aimed at police personnel.

: To what extent did lawyers, judges and women in general understand the meaning of "lesión psíquica" [emotional injury] with respect to Law No. 230?

: The campaigns carried out by the Network and the local efforts by centres and collectives have resulted in greater awareness and understanding of the seriousness of psychological injury, although these crimes continue to be linked solely to the context of domestic violence.However, such crimes can be reported even when the damage is inflicted in other circumstances, such as sex crimes.

No information on whether local courts, without the authority to do so, continue to hear cases under the terms of Law 230 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia, Managua. 6 March 2000. Correspondence from member of the Commission for Legal Affairs and Police Stations. Translated by the Multilingual Translation Directorate of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases.

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Bolsa de Mujeres.

Centro de Mujeres Ixchen.

Envío [Managua]. Jan. 1999-Mar. 2000.

La Noticia [Managua]. May. 1999-Apr. 2000.

El Nuevo Diario [Managua]. Jan. 1999-Mar. 2000.

Puntos de Encuentro.

La Tribuna [Managua]. Jan. 1999-Apr. 2000.

United Nations Development Program.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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