In a recent pronouncement, the Administrative Court of Caquetá in a process of direct reparation - the victims being represented by Conde Abogados Asociados - declared the Nation - Ministry of Defense - National Army administratively and patrimonially responsible for the injuries caused to a minor and for the infringement of constitutional rights, especially those of the child's mother, head of household, as a consequence of a subversive attack directed against the Public Force.
Summary of the case.
In June 2011, Camila*, in the company of her minor son, was traveling in a private vehicle to her place of work in a rural area of the department of Caquetá. On the way, there was a terrorist attack against a contingent of the Battalion in the area, resulting in an armed confrontation in which several people were injured, including Camila's youngest son, who was hit by an explosive device in his right leg, which caused him a 34.60% loss of working capacity. Camila was exclusively responsible for the support of her son and after the terrorist attack, she was exclusively in charge of his care and recovery. For this reason, she was unable to return to work, which shows that the rights of a female head of household were violated. Thus, for the Court, there was an affectation of constitutionally protected assets, such as the right to family life, gender equality and women rights, the fundamental rights of children, as well as the so-called right to care and protection of women against all types of violence. The Court ordered the State to pay a series of reparation measures in order to achieve the full effectiveness of the right to full reparation enshrined in Article 90 of the Political Constitution, Article 16 of Law 446 of 1998 and Article 63.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
Gender perspective in judicial decisions: direct reparation.
Based on the constitutional guideline, the administration of justice is committed to the incorporation of the gender perspective in its judicial decisions. Its application by judges when rendering judicial decisions guarantees the reinforced protection of women's rights in Colombia.
In the present case, the first decision chamber of the Administrative Court of Caquetá was right in not omitting a circumstance that was made known from the beginning of the process, related to the damages suffered by a woman, mother and head of household, as a result of the armed conflict. With this sentence the Court recognizes and dignifies the domestic and unpaid care work of a woman who had to provide the necessary assistance and an adequate standard of living for both her son and herself, due to a terrorist attack that not only caused physical limitations to her descendant, but also placed her in a state of vulnerability, considering that she was the only caregiver and respondent of the injured minor.
The recognition of damages made to Camila and her son in the judicial decision under analysis gives legal form to the work of housewives and to the effort made by hundreds of women heads of household in the country who dedicate themselves to domestic work, contribute to the material and emotional support of the families, and opens the way for the further development of unpaid care as a human right in jurisprudence.
However, it cannot be ignored that there are still judicial decisions that, despite noting facts related to violence or discrimination against women, do not comply with the constitutional duty to incorporate the gender perspective in their pronouncements. Its inclusion contributes to reducing the enormous gender gaps that exist, as in the case under study, in the distribution of unpaid care work in Colombia.