Manhood Deprived and (Re)constructed during Conflicts and International Prosecutions: The Curious Case of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta et al.


Turan, Gözde. 2016. “Manhood Deprived and (Re)constructed during Conflicts and International Prosecutions: The Curious Case of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta et Al.” Feminist Legal Studies 24 (1): 29–47. doi:10.1007/s10691-016-9313-0.

Author: Gözde Turan


Recent case law on sexual violence crimes heard before the ad hoc international criminal tribunals and courts, that interpret them in connection with ethnic conflict, raises the question of which acts can be defined as sexual violence. The International Criminal Court (ICC), in the situation of Kenya, does not regard acts of forced nudity, forcible circumcision and penile amputation as sexual violence when they are motivated by ethnic prejudice and intended to demonstrate the cultural superiority of one tribe over another. The Court argues that not every act of violence that targets parts of the body commonly associated with sexuality should be considered an act of sexual violence. This recent interpretation of what counts as sexual violence provides another example of the complicity of international criminal law institutions in the ongoing construction process of female subordination. The ICC, in the Kenya situation, implicitly confirms the mutilation of female agency by interpreting penile amputation as a kind of power game between males, and by instrumentalizing the male sexual organ as an indicator of masculinity and manhood.

Keywords: sexual violence, international criminal court, intersectionality, Kenya case, masculinity

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, International Criminal Law, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2016

© 2023 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