‘Forced Marriage’ in Conflict Situations: Researching and Prosecuting Old Harms and New Crimes

Citation:

Bunting, Annie. 2012. “‘Forced Marriage’ in Conflict Situations: Researching and Prosecuting Old Harms and New Crimes.” Canadian Journal of Human Rights 1 (1): 165-185.

Author: Annie Bunting

Abstract:

In 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) found “forced marriage” to be a new crime against humanity, distinct from the crime of sexual slavery. With expert evidence on the abduction and forced labour of women and girls during the extended conflict in Sierra Leone, the SCSL found such forced conjugal association to be part of the widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population in Sierra Leone. This article examines the Court’s decision in the context of developments of international criminal law and with comparisons to similar gender violence in Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The author argues that practices described as “forced marriage” in these conflict situations ought to be charged as “enslavement” and not a new crime against humanity – the other inhumane act of forced marriage.

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2012

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