When a justice administration system makes decisions that perpetuate impunity, the struggle for gender equity is challenged. The big issue is not the penal framework in question, but rather the decision to deny the existence of a crime in its entirety.
medicusmundi followed up on the domestic violence case of which Josina Machel was a victim. The case was tried and defined as a crime, condemning Rofino Licuco. During the process, several pieces of evidence were gathered to allow the reconstruction of the crime, which forced Josina into a situation of re-victimization. Rofino Licuco was finally convicted, as the court found a crime to exist.
Despite the outcome, the case of Josina Machel clearly showed that domestic violence goes beyond and does not depend on social class, socio-economic or political position. Josina, even though she is the daughter of the First President of the Republic of Mozambique, went through the same processes and difficulties that women victims of violence go through. On the one hand, Josina proved to the others, despite the evidence of the consequences, that she really was a victim of violence: she underwent bureaucratic proceedings before the court and gathered evidence to ensure that justice was done. On the other hand, Josina had (and has) resources to fight in court. However, for women with limited financial resources, taking their case to trial is a much worse and degrading process.
In 2019 medicusmundi made the documentary WOMAN that tells the story of Josina Machel, as a way to sensitize women victims of domestic violence not to remain silent. In the documentary, it is evident that any woman, regardless of her social position, can suffer domestic violence, as this happens simply because the victim is a woman and lives in a society marked by gender inequality.
To the surprise of civil society, on June 12, 2020, a Judgment of the 2nd Criminal Appeal Section, of the Maputo City Court, acquits Rofino Licuco of the accusation of serious physical violence against Josina Machel.
When a justice administration system makes decisions that perpetuate impunity, the struggle for gender equity is challenged. The big issue is not the penal framework in question, but rather the decision to deny the existence of a crime in its entirety. This makes any action and struggle for women's rights fragile, and makes society discredit the institutions of justice. And when the institutions of justice cannot be trusted, then who should we turn to? Josina Machel's case is not an isolated case. Several women are beaten and even sexually raped, and then they see their aggressors being acquitted and are forced to live with them. medicusmundi repudiates impunity, disrespect for gender equality and domestic violence. For this reason, it joins the other organizations in the “Justice for Josina” campaign launched by Fórum Mulher.
Published on 16/07/20