‘Other Inhumane Acts’: Forced Marriage, Girl Soldiers and the Special Court for Sierra Leone


Park, Augustine S. J. 2006. “‘Other Inhumane Acts’: Forced Marriage, Girl Soldiers and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.” Social & Legal Studies 15 (3): 315–37.


Author: Augustine S. J. Park


The decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone gained international notoriety for the widespread use of child soldiers, and the sexual abuse and ‘forced’ marriage of girl soldiers. For the first time in international legal history, ‘forced marriage’ is being prosecuted as a ‘crime against humanity’ in Sierra Leone’s post-conflict ‘Special Court’. This represents an important step in advancing the human rights of girls, and follows a growing trend in international criminal prosecution of gender offences. Notwithstanding the significance of this indictment, international law is no panacea for the deeper inequalities and vulnerabilities that girls experience in peacetime and in wartime. This article advocates a specific focus on girls, who are often ‘disappeared’ under discourses of children and women. Moreover, using recommendations from Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this article attempts to point to social and economic inequalities that must be addressed alongside criminal prosecution of gendered crimes against humanity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, TRCs, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2006

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