Washington International Law Journal


Sydney Bay


Femicide in Guatemala has not decreased over the past twelve years, despite government efforts to curb the practice. In 2008, Guatemala passed the Law Against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women, which defined and criminalized femicide. The Law also created regulatory agencies and courts focused on stopping femicide and other forms of violence against women in the country, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic violence. But because the government lacks resources and it has received resistance from the agencies’ local levels, femicide and the violence against women has not diminished. Additionally, recent Supreme Court cases have weakened aspects of the law. Despite that, for some families there has been justice in the specialized courts, allowing them to have peace after a senseless murder of their loved ones. However, overall, the number of femicides has continued to cause fear in Guatemala and has forced community members to start looking for other solutions outside of criminalizing femicide and other forms of violence against women. Over twelve years after the law was enacted, criminalization and reactive initiatives seem ineffective on their own. It will take advocacy and community members to create long term and effective solutions to curtail femicides in Guatemala.