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International Tribunals & Special Courts

The Gender Justice Shadow of Complementarity: Lessons from the International Criminal Court’s Preliminary Examinations in Guinea and Colombia

Citation:

Chappell, Louise, Rosemary Grey, and Emily Waller. 2013. “The Gender Justice Shadow of Complementarity: Lessons from the International Criminal Court’s Preliminary Examinations in Guinea and Colombia.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 7 (3): 455–75. 

Authors: Louise Chappell, Rosemary Grey, Emily Walker

Abstract:

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes gender justice provisions, notably the recognition of crimes of sexual violence experienced by women in armed conflict. The Statute also institutes a complementarity regime, leaving states parties with primary responsibility for prosecuting international crimes. However, it fails to link these two innovative provisions, leaving a ‘gender justice complementarity shadow.’ Through an analysis of ICC preliminary examinations in Guinea and Colombia, this article argues that the Office of the Prosecutor’s apparent inattention to gender biases underpinning domestic legal systems has left impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence intact and the victims of these crimes unrecognized. It argues that to tackle impunity for sexual violence through complementarity requires the ICC prosecutor to include an examination of gender biases in domestic legal systems when testing state action, willingness and ability in order to understand how these biases impede access to justice for victims of sexual violence.

Keywords: international criminal court, gender justice, complementarity, Guinea, Colombia

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Colombia, Guinea

Year: 2013

Mayan Women Survivors Speak: The Gendered Relations of Truth Telling in Postwar Guatemala

Citation:

Crosby, Alison, and M. Brinton Lykes. 2011. “Mayan Women Survivors Speak: The Gendered Relations of Truth Telling in Postwar Guatemala.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 5 (3): 456–76. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijr017.

Abstract:

Truth telling in response to massive violations of human rights is a gendered sociopolitical and cultural construction. It is also inherently relational and necessitates multidimensional engagement between state and civil society. Drawing on two years of feminist participatory action research, this article explores the significance of civil society-initiated truth-telling processes in Guatemala, in particular the 2010 Tribunal of Conscience for Women Survivors of Sexual Violence during the Armed Conflict. It seeks to clarify how local, national and transnational webs of relationships, and the speech acts and silences they simultaneously engender, inform processes of transformation from victim to survivor, or reinforce or reify victimization. The article examines the conditions under which indigenous women whose identities are deeply situated within local Mayan communities can narrate truth outside of those contexts, how the multiple spectators who are on the receiving end of those processes relate to ‘the pain of others’ and implications for future truth-telling processes.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2011

Outreach Evaluation: The International Criminal Court in the Central African Republic

Citation:

Vinck, Patrick, and Phuong N. Pham. 2010. “Outreach Evaluation: The International Criminal Court in the Central African Republic.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4 (3): 421–42. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijq014.

Authors: Patrick Vinck, Phuong N. Pham

Abstract:

Public information and outreach have emerged as one of the fundamental activities of transitional justice mechanisms. Their objective is to raise public awareness, knowledge and participation among affected communities. Despite this increased focus, understanding of the role, impact and effectiveness of various outreach strategies remains limited, as is understanding of communities’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about transitional justice mechanisms, including their expectations. The study discussed in this article was designed to evaluate International Criminal Court (ICC) outreach programs in the Central African Republic. Specifically, the article examines how the public gathers information about the ICC and what factors influence knowledge levels and perceptions in relation to the Court. The findings show that mass media and informational meetings are effective at raising awareness and knowledge, but that the lack of access to formal media and reliance on informal channels of communication create a group of ‘information poor’ individuals. The authors suggest that outreach must be local in order to respond to individuals’ needs and expectations and to ensure their access to information. Evaluation research must be implemented systematically and on a continuing basis to assess how best to reach various target groups and develop innovative, responsive and flexible communication strategies.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Central African Republic

Year: 2010

Witness to Rape: The Limits and Potential of International War Crimes Trials for Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence

Citation:

Henry, Nicola. 2009. “Witness to Rape: The Limits and Potential of International War Crimes Trials for Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 3 (1): 114–34. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijn036.

Author: Nicola Henry

Abstract:

Despite the proliferation of trauma and memory research in recent years, we know very little about the contribution of transitional justice mechanisms to psychological healing and societal reconciliation in the aftermath of genocide, armed conflict and politicized violence. Many scholars in this area have argued that the disclosure of traumatic experiences is beneficial to the psychological recovery process for survivors of gross human rights violations. This article critically examines this therapeutic assumption within a transitional justice paradigm. The article explores the potentials and limitations of international war crimes trials for victims of wartime sexual violence, focusing specifically on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The article provides a theoretical framework for analyzing the significance of testimony at international war crimes trials and raises some critical questions related to the psychological impact of trials. It is argued that due to the sheer diversity and heterogeneity of wartime rape victims, the experience of giving testimony is likely to be mixed: while some victims may suffer under the constraints of legal process, under the right circumstances, war crimes trials may help others to make sense of their suffering.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Trauma, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2008

‘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

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

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

Sexual Violence against Child Soldiers

Citation:

Grey, Rosemary. 2014. “Sexual Violence against Child Soldiers.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (4): 601–21. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.955964.

Author: Rosemary Grey

Abstract:

In addition to participating in hostilities, girl soldiers are often raped, sexually enslaved and used as “bush wives” by their commanders and fellow soldiers. As this issue of sexual violence against girl soldiers has become increasingly visible in recent cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), attempts have been made to prosecute this conduct within the established framework of international criminal law. Most recently, this issue has been addressed in the case of The Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda, one of the six cases that have come before the ICC from the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 9 June 2014, the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed the charges in the Ntaganda case, and found that the rape and sexual slavery of girl soldiers in Ntaganda's armed group by other members of that group could constitute war crimes under Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Rome Statute. This article considers what the Ntaganda decision adds to the jurisprudence on sexual violence against child soldiers, and what it demonstrates about the limits of the law.

Keywords: sexual violence, child soldiers, war crimes, international criminal court, Ntaganda case

Topics: Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, International Criminal Law, International Organizations, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rape, SV against men Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014

Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity

Citation:

Durbach, Andrea, and Louise Chappell. 2014. “Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (4): 543–62. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.941251.

Authors: Andrea Durbach, Louise Chappell

Abstract:

As sexual violence in conflict – predominantly affecting women and girls – appears to increase in prevalence, gender justice advocates are calling for a reparations model that is not only restorative, but also, and more critically, preventative or transformative. This article asks whether the reparations mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Trust Fund for Victims has the potential to address the pre-conflict structural inequalities that often contribute to the sexual violence and harm experienced during and post-conflict. Drawing on social theorist Nancy Fraser's model of trivalent justice and the ICC's first reparations decision in Lubanga, this article argues that the design of the ICC's court-ordered reparations mandate, and the unrealistic expectations it raises, may make it untenable to support the key transformative elements of recognition, representation and redistribution essential to addressing structural inequities contributing to conflict-related sexual violence. It suggests however, that modifying initiatives of the ICC's Trust Fund for Victims and a greater emphasis by the ICC on the notion of member state “reparative complementarity” may provide mechanisms for transforming conditions that trigger and perpetuate gender violence during conflict.

Keywords: conflict-related sexual violence against women, international criminal court, reparations, Nancy Fraser

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Sexual Violence, SV against women

Year: 2014

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