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International Criminal Law

Defining Sexual Violence as a Crime Against Humanity in Colombia: Recommendations for Law 1719 of 2014

Citation:

Fetterhoff, Christina M. 2014. “Defining Sexual Violence as a Crime Against Humanity in Colombia: Recommendations for Law 1719 of 2014.” Eyes on the ICC 10 (1): 123–46.

Author: Christina M. Fetterhoff

Abstract:

This article examines whether changes to Colombia's Criminal Codes, enacted through new legislation to assure access to justice for victims of sexual violence in the context of armed conflict, provide adequate definitions to bring Colombia in line with international legal standards. If Colombia is successful, it will be able to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the International Criminal Court over these crimes. However, the current definitions of conflict-related crimes of sexual violence fall short of providing Colombia with this option.

Keywords: International Criminal Law, the International Criminal Court, Colombia, complementarity, sexual violence, Crimes against Humanity, war crimes, gender

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, International Criminal Law, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2014

Justice on Whose Terms? A Critique of International Criminal Justice Responses to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Citation:

St. Germain, Tonia, and Susan Dewey. 2013. “Justice on Whose Terms? A Critique of International Criminal Justice Responses to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.” Women’s Studies International Forum 37 (March): 36–45. 

Authors: Tonia St. Germain, Susan Dewey

Abstract:

This article argues that the international criminal justice system fails to sufficiently address conflict-related sexual violence in two critical ways: [1] by advocating a pro-prosecution, “end impunity” approach (defined as holding perpetrators accountable through criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings) which applies the prevailing Euro-American model of justice designed to prosecute one man for the rape of one woman to post-conflict zones where widespread sexual violence occurred, and [2] by identifying conflict and post-conflict zones as both discursive and practical sites of pathology that require intervention by elites who strongly identify with a Euro-American liberal individualistic vision of justice. We argue that the international community can no longer conveniently refuse to address the inequalities characterizing the international criminal justice system, in which a tiny minority of self-congratulatory elites uses the noble principles of human rights and justice to advance an agenda that works in their own best interests. To explore possible alternatives to a prosecution-centered approach to conflict-related sexual violence, we employ two African case study examples of community-led gender justice initiatives that have successfully shifted legal discourse while simultaneously transforming wider cultural frameworks.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Post-Conflict, Rights, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, Violence

Year: 2013

Women's participation in the Rwandan genocide: mothers or monsters?

Citation:

Hogg, Nicole. 2010. “Women’s Participation in the Rwandan Genocide: Mothers or Monsters?” International Review of the Red Cross 92 (877): 69–102.

Author: Nicole Hogg

Abstract:

The participation of women in the 1994 Rwandan genocide should be considered in the context of gender relations in pre-genocide Rwandan society. Many 'ordinary' women were involved in the genocide but, overall, committed significantly fewer acts of overt violence than men. Owing to the indirect nature of women's crimes, combined with male 'chivalry', women may be under-represented among those pursued for genocide related crimes, despite the broad conception of complicity in Rwanda's Gacaca Law. Women in leadership positions played a particularly important role in the genocide, and gendered imagery, including of the 'evil woman' or 'monster', is often at play in their encounters with the law.

Topics: Gender, Women, Genocide, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Impunity Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2010

‘When We Wanted to Talk About Rape’: Silencing Sexual Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Citation:

Kelsall, Michelle Staggs, and Shanee Stepakoff. 2007. “‘When We Wanted to Talk About Rape’: Silencing Sexual Violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 355–74. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm034.

Authors: Michelle Staggs Kelsall, Shanee Stepakoff

Abstract:

This article explores the legal and psychological ramifications arising from the exclusion of evidence of sexual violence during the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Using empirical findings from post-trial interviews conducted with the ten victim-witnesses who were originally to testify, we juxtapose what the Special Court allowed the women to say, and what the women themselves wanted to say. From a legal perspective, we then critique the Trial Chamber's reasons for excluding the evidence and question the legal bases upon which the women were silenced, arguing that wider and wider circles of the women's experience were removed from the Court's records despite there being ample authority at an international level to support inclusion. We further look at the gendered biases in international criminal law and how expedience and efficiency usurped the significance of prosecuting crimes of sexual violence in this instance. From a psychological perspective, we discuss the consequences that the act of silencing had for the witnesses, and argue that a more emotionally sensitive understanding of the Court's notion of ‘protection’ is required.

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2007

Ending Impunity for Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes: The International Criminal Court and Complementarity in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Citation:

Lake, Milli. 2014. “Ending Impunity for Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes: The International Criminal Court and Complementarity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review 4 (1): 1-32

Author: Milli Lake

Abstract:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 to combat impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern. It seeks to do so in two ways: through a series of high-profile cases in The Hague, intended to deter future war criminals; and through its complementarity mechanism, which equips national legal systems to prosecute ICC crimes domestically. Through a case study of the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this article examines efforts by various stakeholders to realize the legal complementarity principle embedded in the Rome Statute. The article argues that the domestic prosecution of ICC crimes requires developments in four distinct areas: legislative reform, institutional reform, education and training, and the building of public trust and participation. The research also reveals that where developments in these areas have occurred, they have been propelled by a variety of domestic and international stakeholders. However, the ICC itself has failed to contribute significantly to the realization of complementarity that is central to achieving its mandate.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Education, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014

The New Sexual Violence Legislation in the Congo: Dressing Indelible Scars on Human Dignity

Citation:

Zongwe, Dunia Prince. 2012. “The New Sexual Violence Legislation in the Congo: Dressing Indelible Scars on Human Dignity.” African Studies Review 55 (2): 37–57. doi:10.1353/arw.2012.0047.

 

Author: Dunia Prince Zongwe

Abstract:

This article describes a legal thread running from the commission of massive sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the Congo since 1996 to the enactment of liberal legislation in 2006 to combat sexual violence throughout the country, especially in eastern Congo. In doing so, the article fills a gap in the nascent legal literature on systematic sexual violence. It finds that the new rape law is progressive, liberal, gender-neutral, and in keeping with international law. However, an unfortunate lapse in legislative drafting puts in doubt the authority of the courts to use the new rape law to prosecute systematic sexual violence. Despite this weakness, as well as harsh realities such as resource limitations and institutionalized corruption, the new sexual violence law, "the law of shameful acts," nonetheless provides a framework on the basis of which the state and rape survivors can prosecute perpetrators. It is a necessary step in upholding accountability and preparing for the more daunting task of healing communities affected by a devastating regional war.

Topics: Extractive Industries, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2012

Sex and International Tribunals: The Erasure of Gender from the War Narrative

Citation:

Mibenge, Chiseche Salome. 2013. Sex and International Tribunals: The Erasure of Gender from the War Narrative. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press. 

Author: Chiseche Salome Mibenge

Abstract:

Before the twenty-first century, there was little legal precedent for the prosecution of sexual violence as a war crime. Now, international tribunals have the potential to help make sense of political violence against both men and women; they have the power to uphold victims' claims and to convict the leaders and choreographers of systematic atrocity. However, by privileging certain accounts of violence over others, tribunals more often confirm outmoded gender norms, consigning women to permanent rape victim status.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, International Criminal Law, International Tribunals & Special Courts, TRCs, Post-Conflict, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Rwanda, Sierra Leone

Year: 2013

Women in Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dilemmas and Directions

Citation:

Cahn, Naomi. 2006. “Women in Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dilemmas and Directions.” William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 12 (2): 335.

 

Author: Naomi Cahn

Annotation:

INTRODUCTION

I. OVERVIEW OF POST CONFLICT TRANSITION

A. Problems in Establishing the Post Conflict Framework

B. Problems with Post Conflict Donor Aid and Special Needs of Women

II. DDR PROGRAMS

A. Deconstructing DDR Programs

B. Reconstructing DDR Programs

1. Redesigning DDR Programs with Gender Centrality

2. Reconceptualizing DDR

III. GENDERED LAWS

A. The Scope of the Problem

B. International Law and Violence Against Women

C. Additional Means of Justice

D. The Need for Domestic Reforms Regarding Women’s Rights and Status

1. Developing a Model Statute

2. Changing Existing Law

3. Implementation

a. Gender-Sensitive Support

b. Gender-Sensitive Policies within the Legal System '

4. What Difference Does It Make: Why Change Domestic Rape Laws?

E. Rape Laws and Gender Equity

CONCLUSION

Topics: DDR, Gender, Women, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, SV against Women

Year: 2006

Trying International Crimes on Local Lawns: The Adjudication of Genocide Sexual Violence Crimes in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts

Citation:

Amick, Emily. 2011. “Trying International Crimes on Local Lawns: The Adjudication of Genocide Sexual Violence Crimes in Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts.” Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 20 (2). http://cjgl.cdrs.columbia.edu/article/trying-international-crimes-on-local-lawns-the-adjudication-of-genocide-sexual-violence-crimes-in-rwandas-gacaca-courts/.

Author: Emily Amick

Abstract:

During the Rwandan genocide sexual violence was used as a weapon of war to ravage a people. Women were tortured psychologically, physically and emotionally. For some women the “dark carnival” of the genocide has not ended. Living side by sidewith the men who committed violence against them, they must confront their past every day. This Article explores how, post-genocide, the country has come to adjudicate these crimes in gacaca. Gacaca is a unique method of transitional justice, one that calls upon traditional roots, bringing community members together to find the truth of what happened during the genocide and punish those who perpetrated violence. One scholar calls gacaca, “one of the boldest and most original ‘legal-social’ experiments ever attempted in the field of transitional justice.” Others, however, criticize gacaca for the impunity it grants to crimes committed by the current ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and its lack of due process and nonconformance to international fair trial processes. Most authors find that, for cases of sexual violence, gacaca is a wholly unsuitable forum.

Topics: Gender, Genocide, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Organizations, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2011

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