Rape as Genocide: The Legal Response to Sexual Violence

Citation:

Pilch, Frances T. 2002. “Rape as Genocide: The Legal Response to Sexual Violence.” Working paper, The Center for Global Security and Democracy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Author: Frances T. Pilch

Abstract:

The last decade has witnessed a profound transformation in the treatment of sexual violence in international law. The overwhelming evidence of the widespread use of rape as a policy tool in the former Yugoslavia, combined with the tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda, in which rape was also widely prevalent, has led to a legal reconceptualization of sexual violence in internal and international conflicts. The ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, have genuinely broken new ground as they have confronted cases dealing with the complexities of rape, torture, and genocide. They have struggled with determining the legal definition of rape and finding a balance between the rights of witnesses and defendants. The revolutionary changes that have taken place in this area of the law in large part reflect the growing mobilization and influence of non-governmental organizations articulating the importance of the rights of women, and the increasing importance of the presence of women advocates, prosecutors, and judges.

In this chapter, some of the most important changes in the legal interpretation of sexual violence will be addressed. The importance of new actors in the international arena will also be examined. Finally, the proposed tribunal to deal with violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Sierra Leone will be examined in light of the experiences of the ad hoc tribunals. (Columbia International Affairs Online)

Topics: Gender, Genocide, Justice, Sexual Violence, Rape

Year: 2002

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.