Gender Politics and Geopolitics of International Criminal Law in Uganda


Bunting, Annie. 2018. "Gender Politics and Geopolitics of International Criminal Law in Uganda." Global Discourse 8 (3): 422-37.

Author: Annie Bunting


This paper explores the views of victim survivors – both men and women – on the current prosecution of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, including the crime of forced marriage. This case will be used as the central story around which the potential and limitations of international criminal law for gender justice will be explored. The Ongwen case has blurred the lines between victims and perpetrators of child soldiering and has generated much debate within and outside the continent. It has resuscitated the contestation and controversies surrounding the ICC regime in Uganda and Africa more broadly. The reflections I share in this paper come out of a collaborative research project I direct called ‘Conjugal Slavery in War: Partnerships for the study of enslavement, marriage and masculinities’ (CSiW 2015-2020). While Uganda and the Ongwen case will be central to this paper, our research project includes partners working with survivors of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and northern Nigeria. We collected well over 250 interviews with women who were abducted for forced marriage. Using interview data from Uganda, as well as court records, this paper explores in-depth the geopolitics and gender politics of prosecuting conjugal slavery as an international crime.

Keywords: ICC, gender violence, Crimes against Humanity, transitional justice

Topics: Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, Transitional Justice, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2018

© 2024 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