Rape in War: Lessons of the Balkan Conflicts in the 1990s


Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline, and Penny Stanley. 2000. “Rape in War: Lessons of the Balkan Conflicts in the 1990s.” International Journal of Human Rights 4 (3-4): 67–84.

Authors: Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Penny Stanley


The Balkan wars of the 1990s were critical in bringing the issue of rape & more particularly the phenomenon of mass rape onto the political agenda in the West. For the first time, mass rape in war is now an indictable crime, giving the impression that the human rights of women are now taken seriously. Yet, as the article argues, although the crime of mass rape has been recognized by audiences in the West, there are grave weaknesses in the processes of how we deal with rape as a crime of war. Evidence of mass rape is liable to distortion & reliable evidence is hard to come by, at least for the standards required by proper judicial process. The attempts by the Hague tribunal to indict & try perpetrators of rape have not helped our understanding of why men rape, & indeed have tended to homogenize all rape in war as politically motivated. The Balkan Wars reveal that rape in war has multiple causes, as well as a variety of consequences.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Europe, Balkans

Year: 2000

© 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 info@genderandsecurity.org.