The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Maria da Penha Case

Mrs. Stella Oliveira

The case addressed in this work is played by Maria da Penha Fernandes

who lived in an abusive marriage for 23 years, in which she suffered serious 

assaults. In 1983, Maria da Penha, from Ceará in Brazil and Pharmacist 
suffered a double murder attempt by her husband Marco Antônio Herredia 
Viveiros, a university professor of economy. First he tried to kill her with a shot 
in the back, which let her became paraplegic; after, another time, his partner 
tried to electrocute her while bathing in a bathtub. After this assassination 
attempt she get the courage, denounced him, was able to leave the house in 
order to a judicial order and started the battle for her ex husband be sentenced. 
The defendant had been sentenced twice in 1991 and 1996 by local 
courts but, using judicial remedies against the jury's conviction, he was never 
arrested and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. 
In view of the delay and judicial neglect of Brazil, Maria da Penha 
appealed to International Justice. Initially, she presented the case to the Inter
American Commission on Human Rights. In order to achieve this objective, the 
pharmacist sought help from the The Center for Justice and International 
Law (CEJIL) and the The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the 
Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM). However, before the commission, 
Brazil did not take any action. 
After 18 years of that, the Organization of American States (OAS), in 
2001, blamed the country for omission and negligence about domestic violence, 
based on the report of Maria da Penha. The Organization of American States 
(OAS) recommended that Brazil take steps to create public policies that would 
inhibit domestic violence against women.