A Peruvian court has handed down prison sentences for two businessmen who took no action to assist an Afro-Peruvian woman who faced racism while at work. The ruling marks the first time that an Afro-Peruvian claim of racial discrimination has been honored by the nation’s justice system and been determined to merit punishment.

The incident took place March 20, 2012, when Azucena Asunción Algendones was working as a secretary at the Municipal Water and Sewer Services Company of Huancayo, which is known as SEDAM HUANCAYO S.A. Algendones claimed that at one point, a co-worker named Judith Pérez Huaynate referred to her as a “negra cocodrilo” and made derogatory gestures towards her. Algendones demanded an apology, but instead Pérez Huaynate replied that what she had said was more of an insult to the crocodile than to her.

When Algendones complained to her general manager, Luis Pérez Peralta, and later to the Human Resources manager, Augusto Santisteban García and other supervisors about the incident, the companies’ administrators did little to resolve the issue. They noted in reports that what Pérez Huaynate had done was a racist act, and then dismissed it without punishing her, as they are required to do according to their own internal business guidelines and in accord with local employment and civil rights laws.

Ultimately, SEDAM officials wound up trying to punish Algendones by firing her from her position in 2013, just after she contacted government authorities about the situation and an investigation was launched into the matter.

The Peruvian court’s decision, which was handed down Nov. 13, 2015, is that the former general manager, Luis Pérez Peralta, and the former Human Resources manager, Augusto Santisteban García, will serve three years in prison for their actions and pay a fine of 5,000 soles ($1,560).

In neighboring Ecuador, another anti-racial discrimination decision was handed down Nov. 19, 2015. This case involved Michael Arce, who entered Ecuador’s Escuela Superior Militar—the nations’ premiere military college, known as ESMIL—in 2011 in hopes of becoming Ecuador’s first Black army officer. Arce was selected to train at ESMIL after passing a battery of academic, psychological and physical tests that helped him win one of the 200 seats at ESMIL, when more than five thousand people had applied to get in.

Yet Arce found himself brutalized and psychologically tormented by an ESMIL lieutenant, identified as Fernando E., while attending the school. Arce complained that the lieutenant pitted him against his fellow cadets to such an extent that at one point he was forced to defend himself in a boxing ring against four other cadets. The lieutenant forced him to crawl through mud while totally nude, and fellow ESMIL cadets testified that the lieutenant regularly deprived Arce of food or would make him eat the food he did receive while on the floor. Arce was even denied sleep at some points and made to stand guard all night, all because the lieutenant did not like having a young Black man under his command.

Lieutenant Fernando E. has been sentenced to five months and four days of imprisonment for “racial hatred” and has been ordered to pay Arce’s legal fees. ESMIL has been ordered to make a public apology to Arce during an official military ceremony. And Ecuador’s armed forces has been ordered to publish details about the case on its website and in official publications.

According to Arce’s lawyer, Juan Pablo Albán, Ecuador first passed penal laws against racial hatred in February of 1979, but this case is the first time anyone has been convicted of the crime. In an exclusive interview, Albán explained “there is still a long road ahead” in terms of making it easy for other Afro-Ecuadorians to bring cases to court when they are faced with racial discrimination. “Certainly there will be more cases,” he said, but litigating them remains a challenge. “Unfortunately there are not many attorneys trained for this type of case. We have tried to make more training available [in conjunction with the work Ecuador is doing in support of the 2015-2024 United Nations’ declared] International Decade for People of African Descent, but there still aren’t enough lawyers with the experience or knowledge that is necessary.”

Both Arce and Lieutenant Fernando E. have been ordered to undergo psychological counseling in regard to this case.

Arce has said he plans to move on with his life now that the case is resolved. He has a full scholarship to study for a degree in education.