San Diego International Law Journal


Melissa Padilla

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



Since 2007, eighteen Latin American countries have enacted laws that criminalize femicide/‌feminicide in an effort to address gender-based murders in the region and to uphold their obligations under international human rights law. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its systemic lingering effects exacerbated the existent dangerous levels of gender-based violence in the region, resulting in an increase in gender-based murders. To address these murders, between 2020 and 2021, a quarter of the eighteen Latin American countries that criminalized femicide/‌feminicide have implemented or are in the process of implementing reforms to their laws criminalizing femicide/‌feminicide. Given this new trend to address the prevalence of gender-based murders, this Article analyzes the laws of nine Latin American countries from an intersectional gender lens perspective. The Article ultimately questions whether criminal law is an effective tool to prevent and eradicate feminicide, as well as to provide comprehensive reparations for survivors with multiple marginalized identities and their families for the multi-sided violence they have been forced to endure due to patriarchal, racist, and colonial-capitalist systems of power. With a vision that women will be able to live their lives free from violence, this Article describes how the path forward requires a new approach grounded in the lived experiences of those that are disproportionality impacted by gender-based violence; and provides clear recommendations for States to ensure that they recognize the murders of women with multiple marginalized identities in order to protect their right to life.