Keywords: torture; sexual violence; sexual torture; gender-based violence; international human rights law; Atenco v. Mexico case
On 28 November 2018, the Interamerican Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the case Women Victims of Sexual Torture in Atenco v. Mexico. The Court found Mexico responsible for the violation of human rights of eleven women, who suffered acts of sexual violence committed in May 2006 by policemen. This contribution focuses on the reasoning followed by the Court for the classification of acts of sexual violence as torture. The first part of the contribution reviews the judgment and the second part analyses the elements of the crime of torture with a particular focus on the element of purpose, which seems essential for the Court to qualify as torture certain forms of sexual violence other than rape.