This is one acceptable argument because even in the most normal complaints, it is the duty of the police to take down the complaint or at least hear the complainant and take necessary steps to confirm the veracity of the complaint. In the present case, neither did the police take down her complaint nor take necessary steps to confirm its veracity. Instead it dismissed her as a trouble maker and paid no heed to her statements. The violation is more severe as the Petitioner had obtained an order of Restraint from the Court which was to be enforced in such situations.
The Police did not read the restraint order and kept quiet stating that since the children were with their father, it is ok and that matters of domestic nature are best solved in private. The basic searches that a normal police officer would do in such a situation were not done in this particular case. It can be and it is argued that had the police done a routine search on the criminal history of the Petitioners husband then the Police would have responded more seriously and promptly to the pleas of the Petitioner.
The second most important argument put forth by the Petitioner is under the provisions of the Inter American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women which imposes a duty on the State to protect victims of domestic violence. This provision calls upon the State to put in place such measures that would ensure that victims of domestic violence are given adequate protection, can seek immediate judicial remedy and recourse and are not put to any discomfort.
The State had no such mechanism in place and even the police who are supposed to be the first level of interaction of a victim showed total apathy towards the plight of the victim. The third important argument is the right to protect ones home and property from being violated. The State through its Police was a mute spectator to the violations committed by the Petitioners husband on her property. The fact that there was a restraint order which prohibited his entry and visits to the Petitioners house without the permission of the Petitioner was totally ignored by the Police.
Despite the Petitioner stating very clearly that her husband has no right of entrance into the property and that he had done so with the intention of harassing the Petitioner and should therefore be arrested, the Police insisted on keeping quiet and rejecting the pleas of the Petitioner as totally unfounded. Right to privacy of property is an inalienable right conferred to the Petitioner and all other persons by the various human rights instruments. While there are many arguments that show the strong case of the Petitioner, the Petition still has its points which cannot actually and automatically construe infringement of rights by the State.
The first of such arguments is the allegation that the Petitioner was not granted immediate access to Judicial tribunals and that the failure on the part of the Judiciary to reach a favorable decision in her case constituted a human rights violation. It is pertinent to note that though the police did not accept her complaint and initially ignored her pleas, the Court machinery fully considered her pleas and interpreted the law as per their understanding. There might have been error in judgment but that does not constitute violation of the Petitioners human rights.
If such an argument were to be allowed then it would mean challenging the integrity of the Domestic Judicial Mechanisms. Hence, a mistake in judgment does not necessarily mean an absolute failure of the justice mechanism unless the Petitioner can prove that the Court purposely and with malicious intention chose to rule in a particular way knowing full well the harm that it would cause the Petitioner. Secondly, the allegation of the Petitioner that her right to equality has been violated has not been substantiated by the facts of the case.
While it may be true that women who are victims of domestic violence often face problems of not being taken seriously by the law enforcing mechanisms, it cannot be said that the law enforcing mechanisms intentionally do so to discriminate against women. There is no specific pattern or incident that has been put forth by the Petitioner in this Petition to show that the Police refused to take her complaint just because she was a woman or that the Castle Rock Police Department generally refuses to take complaints from women.
One cannot deny that they chose to take the entire episode lightly but this was not due to some biased attitude against women. Hence the whole argument of violation of right to equality, i. e. , equal protection of laws, does not hold true. 2. Article 1 of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man clearly states that Every man has the right to life, liberty and security of his person. This clause clearly states that all individuals residing in a particular State has right to protect his life and liberty from the excesses of the State. In other words all persons should be able to live with dignity and freely.
He has a right to protect himself or herself from the atrocities due to the action or inaction of the State. This fact has been accepted and used in various cases before the Inter American Court. One of the first cases before the Inter American Court was the Velasquez Rodriguez case. Velasquez Rodriguez disappeared from the streets of Honduras and this case brought to light the systematic practice of disappearances operated with the help of the Government. The body of Velasquez was found tortured and mutilated. He had been kidnapped and killed by the agents of the Government.
When this case was brought to the notice of the Court, it held that the Government had violated the right to life, liberty and right to humane treatment of the victim and the State was directed to compensate the next of kin for the violation (Abi-Mershed, 1994). Another instance where the Inter American Court has recognized and interpreted the right to life and liberty as enshrined in the Declaration is the Street Childrens case. In this case, Villagran Moralles and some other children were abducted from the street and tortured and executed in a nearby woods.
Witnesses claimed that agents of the Government, especially Police, were responsible for these atrocities. The domestic courts refused to accept and the police despite all evidence pointing to the obvious refused to conduct proper investigations and persecute the matter. The Inter American Court held that not only had the right to life of these persons have been violated but the State had also failed in its duty to protect the life and liberty of these individuals. States silence in responding to pleas for help also constitutes violation of right to life, liberty and security.
In the present case, the Petitioner had made innumerable pleas for protection to be given to herself and her children. The State by its inaction to stop her husband from harassing her is actually an accomplice and has violated her basic right to life. It is pertinent to note that here despite a restraint order from the Court, the Petitioner and her children lived in constant fear of her husband. Right to life has been interpreted to mean Right to live with dignity and security. In this case the State has failed to provide both to the Petitioner.