Women, Gender and International Institutions: Exploring New Opportunities at the International Criminal Court


Chappell, Louise. 2003. “Women, Gender and International Institutions: Exploring New Opportunities at the International Criminal Court.” Policy and Society 22 (1): 3–25. doi:10.1016/S1449-4035(03)70011-3.

Author: Louise Chappell


Traditionally women have been constructed in very limited terms under international law. They have been defined through their relationships with either men or with children. Moreover, the types of crimes experienced by women in times of armed conflict, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, have been categorised as less egregious than those experienced by men. In recent years feminists have sought to challenge the existing definition of women, drawing attention to the serious nature of gender-based crimes. They have done this through their engagement with new international institutions including the UN ad hoc tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the development of the statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Through their efforts they have made some significant advances in bringing to light the complex, diverse and unique aspects of women’s lives previously ignored in international criminal and humanitarian law. Although there is still much to be done, feminist activists have demonstrated that the law and its influence are not fixed but dynamic and open to change.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Organizations, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans Countries: Rwanda, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2003

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