Bronze gavel winner
Gender-based violence

Case of Ángela González - State Responsibility

The Supreme Court of Spain affirmed that the country must comply with recommendations it receives from international human rights bodies that monitor treaties it has ratified, in the case of a man who abused his wife and 7-year-old daughter for several years, and ultimately murdered his daughter during an unsupervised visit. 

  • Country: Spain
  • Edition: 2018
  • Visits: 810
  • Court: The Supreme Court of Spain - Fourth Section of the Contentious-administrative chamber
  • Date of the Decision: 17/07/2018
  • Votes: 76

Angela Gonzalez has spent 15 years fighting for justice for the murder of her daughter. In 2003 Angela’s ex-partner murdered their daughter Andrea, just 7 years old, during a regular, unsupervised visit imposed by a judge. After 11 years seeking reparations from Spain, and exhausting all internal legal avenues, Angela took her case to the United Nations. In 2014, the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), issued an opinion condemning Spain for negligence (this case was nominated for the Gavel Award in 2015). After the decision, the government of Spain repeatedly refused to comply with the measures, arguing that the decisions of the United Nations are not binding. 

The Supreme Court ruled on Ángela González's appeal of the National High Court's ruling which had denied Spain was responsible for the death of her daughter.

The Supreme Court determined that the Spanish State must comply with the recommendations it receives from international human rights bodies that monitor treaties it has ratified. In particular, the Court held that the CEDAW ruling issued to Spain is binding because Spain has ratified the CEDAW Convention and that not complying with the decision is a violation of the fundamental rights of women. It also notes that Spain violated the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to physical and moral integrity, and the right to effective judicial protection. The penalty for the Spanish State is 600,000 euros.

This decision sets a very important precedent, establishing for the first time that the opinions of the United Nations Committees are binding and that the fact that there is no direct mechanism to implement them does not exempt the country from its obligation to comply with the recommendations.

The judicial decision is available only in Spanish. 

Judges who issued the decision

Antonio Jesús Fonseca-Herrero Raimundo (Magistrado Ponente / Reporting Judge)

Jorge Rodríguez-Zapata Pérez

Segundo Menéndez Pérez

Pablo Lucas Murillo de la Cueva

María del Pilar Teso Gamella

José Luis Requero Ibáñez

Rafael Toledano Cantero

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