International Tribunals & Special Courts

“New,” “Old,” and “Nested” Institutions and Gender Justice Outcomes: A View from the International Criminal Court

Citation:

Chappell, Louise. 2014. “‘New,’ ‘Old,’ and ‘Nested’ Institutions and Gender Justice Outcomes: A View from the International Criminal Court.” Politics & Gender 10 (04): 572–94. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000427.

Author: Louise Chappell

Abstract:

What difference do new actors and new institutions make to gender justice outcomes? This article explores this question through an examination of the objectives and influence of “new” international actors on the design and implementation of the “new” victims' rights and gender justice provisions contained in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court's (ICC). Highlighting the role of gender and formal and informal institutions, this article argues that during its first decade in operation, the ICC has produced mixed outcomes in terms of the treatment of victims, especially of conflict-related sexual violence. While there is some sign that the new actors and rules have helped produce some positive outcomes, there are also signs that “old” informal gender rules and the historical context in which the ICC is “nested” has contributed to undermining and distorting news rules aimed at addressing gender injustices. The article suggests that “newness” matters, but so, too, does “oldness” and “nestedness,” and understanding the interaction and relationship between these factors is key to understanding gender justice outcomes.

Topics: Gender, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence, Violence

Year: 2014

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

‘New,’ ‘Old,’ and ‘Nested’ Institutions and Gender Justice Outcomes: A View from the International Criminal Court

Citation:

Chappell, Louise. 2014. “‘New,’ ‘Old,’ and ‘Nested’ Institutions and Gender Justice Outcomes: A View from the International Criminal Court.” Politics & Gender 10 (04): 572–94. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000427.

Author: Louise Chappell

Abstract:

What difference do new actors and new institutions make to gender justice outcomes? This article explores this question through an examination of the objectives and influence of “new” international actors on the design and implementation of the “new” victims' rights and gender justice provisions contained in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court's (ICC). Highlighting the role of gender and formal and informal institutions, this article argues that during its first decade in operation, the ICC has produced mixed outcomes in terms of the treatment of victims, especially of conflict-related sexual violence. While there is some sign that the new actors and rules have helped produce some positive outcomes, there are also signs that “old” informal gender rules and the historical context in which the ICC is “nested” has contributed to undermining and distorting news rules aimed at addressing gender injustices. The article suggests that “newness” matters, but so, too, does “oldness” and “nestedness,” and understanding the interaction and relationship between these factors is key to understanding gender justice outcomes.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Security, Sexual Violence

Year: 2014

"Without These Women, the Tribunal Cannot Do Anything”: The Politics of Witness Testimony on Sexual Violence at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Citation:

Koomen, Jonneke. 2013. “‘Without These Women, the Tribunal Cannot Do Anything’: The Politics of Witness Testimony on Sexual Violence at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.” Signs 38 (2): 253–77. 

Author: Jonneke Koomen

Abstract:

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established by the UN Security Council to prosecute high-profile organizers of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including those responsible for systematic sexual violence against Rwandan women. Focusing on tribunal cases involving mass rape, I examine how global justice for Rwandan women is produced through the politics of translation and negotiation. Through in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, I investigate how unspeakable suffering is articulated through witness testimony, translated into the language of international law, and mediated through the tribunal bureaucracy. I examine encounters between international tribunal workers and Rwandan witnesses, specifically how ICTR staff investigate sexual violence, gather witness statements, and render individuals’ stories fit for public appearance at the tribunal. I also explore the conditions under which witnesses tell their stories in ICTR courtrooms. I argue that international justice at the ICTR depends on Rwandan victims and witnesses. At the same time, however, the project of international justice for women depends on routine social practices that at times marginalize Rwandan women as objects of justice. I contend that these practices may, counterintuitively, reinforce the distance between “local victims” and the expansive ambitions of international justice.

Topics: Gender, Genocide, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Post-Conflict, Security, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2013

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. 

Authors: Alison Crosby, M. Brinton Lykes

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: Gender, Women, Indigenous, 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.

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, Media, 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

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