International Tribunals & Special Courts

Gender Violence or Violence Against Women? The Treatment of Forced Marriage in the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Citation:

Slater, Rachel. 2012. “Gender Violence or Violence Against Women? The Treatment of Forced Marriage in the Special Court for Sierra Leone.” Melbourne Journal of International Law 13 (2):  732.

Author: Rachel Slater

Abstract:

The article considers the case for viewing forced marriage, a prevalent form of violence suffered by women during the Sierra Leone conflict, as a gender crime. The article begins with a brief examination of the Special Court for Sierra Leone trials, commonly known as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council Trial, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council Appeal, the Revolutionary United Front Trial and the Charles Taylor Trial. Part IV then puts forward a conceptualisation of forced marriage as a gender crime and not purely violence suffered by women. It is argued that in order to fully reflect the nature of the harm suffered, the gender element of the violence must be foregrounded. This argument rejects calls for forced marriage to be viewed as enslavement or sexual slavery and emphasises the specific harm stemming from the label ‘wife’ as demonstrative of the force of socially assigned gender roles; these roles are integral to the crime rather than just forming the broader social context. This suggests that forced marriage as a gender crime should be seen as a stand-alone crime separate from other instances of forced marriage. In Part V and Part VI, it will be argued that the categorisation of forced marriage as a gender crime is a vital step towards the recognition of this type of gender violence as being within the scope of international law. Specifically, this article considers the characterisation of forced marriage under international criminal law in light of its interest to international refugee law, where similar violence might be raised as ‘persecution’ under the definition in art 1A(2) of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2012

‘Forced Marriage’ in Conflict Situations: Researching and Prosecuting Old Harms and New Crimes

Citation:

Bunting, Annie. 2012. “‘Forced Marriage’ in Conflict Situations: Researching and Prosecuting Old Harms and New Crimes.” Canadian Journal of Human Rights 1 (1): 165-185.

Author: Annie Bunting

Abstract:

In 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) found “forced marriage” to be a new crime against humanity, distinct from the crime of sexual slavery. With expert evidence on the abduction and forced labour of women and girls during the extended conflict in Sierra Leone, the SCSL found such forced conjugal association to be part of the widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population in Sierra Leone. This article examines the Court’s decision in the context of developments of international criminal law and with comparisons to similar gender violence in Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The author argues that practices described as “forced marriage” in these conflict situations ought to be charged as “enslavement” and not a new crime against humanity – the other inhumane act of forced marriage.

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Livelihoods, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2012

The Hidden Prevalence of Male Sexual Assault During War

Citation:

Carlson, Eric Stener. 2006. "The Hidden Prevalence of Male Sexual Assault During War." The British Journal of Criminology 46 (1): 16-25.

Author: Eric Stener Carlson

Abstract:

The article presents the author's observation on the prevalence of male sexual assault during war. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia investigated sexual assault in the mid-1990s. The male prisoners were sexually assaulted by forced fellatio, masturbation, mutilation of the genitals and insertion of objects into the anus. Sexual torture is widely used to break down the identity of political prisoners. In most cases of sexual assault, the victim is reluctant to admit that he or she was abused. Therefore, it is important to understand the psychodynamics of this trauma. (Abstract from EBSCO)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Health, Trauma, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Men, Torture, Sexual Torture, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2006

Rush to Closure: Lessons of the Tadic Judgment

Citation:

Alvarez, Jose. 1998. "Rush to Closure: Lessons of the Tadic Judgment" Michigan Law Review 96 (7): 2031-111.

Author: Jose E. Alvarez

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Genocide, International Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 1998

Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa: Protection of Women from Sexual Violence during Armed Conflict

Citation:

Dyani, Ntombizozuko, Ebenezer Durojaye, and Emezat H. Mengesha. 2006. “Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa: Protection of Women from Sexual Violence during Armed Conflict.” African Human Rights Law Journal 6 (1): 166–87.

Authors: Ntombizozuko Dyani, Ebenezer Durojaye, Emezat H. Mengesha

Abstract:

Sexual violence during armed conflict is prohibited by international humanitarian law. International tribunals have held that sexual violence can constitute torture, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Protocol on the Rights of Women deals quite extensively with the protection of women in armed conflicts. However, there are no clear guidelines for states on how to implement these obligations.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Genocide, International Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Torture Regions: Africa

Year: 2006

Advancing International Criminal Law: The Special Court for Sierra Leone Recognizes Forced Marriage as a ‘New’ Crime against Humanity

Citation:

Frulli, Micaela. 2008. “Advancing International Criminal Law: The Special Court for Sierra Leone Recognizes Forced Marriage as a ‘New’ Crime against Humanity.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 6 (5) : 1033–42.

Author: Micaela Frulli

Abstract:

The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Brima, Kamara and Kanu recognized that forced marriages may amount to crimes against humanity, falling under the sub-heading of ‘other inhumane acts’. This decision is to be welcomed because the practice of forced marriage is not adequately described by existing categories of sexual crimes. As forced conjugality results in particular psychological and moral suffering for the victims, it is argued that this heinous practice may be more appropriately pursued as a separate crime, under a definition that describes the entirety and complexity of the criminal conduct. The SCSL decision may also be important for its impact on the activities of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The widespread practice of forced marriage presently features in all the situations being investigated by the ICC and the inclusion in the ICC Statute of the offence of forced marriage as a separate crime against humanity could be discussed during the Review Conference in 2009.

Topics: Armed Conflict, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2008

Widows and Community Based Transitional Justice in Post Genocide Rwanda

Citation:

Tobin, Angela. 2012. "Widows and Community Based Transitional Justice in Post Genocide Rwanda." British Journal of Community Justice 10 (1): 27-39.

Author: Angela Tobin

Abstract:

After decades of cycles of violence between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, 1994 witnessed genocide more effective than Hitler's gas chambers (Carlsson, 2005) costing the lives of estimates between 500,000 (Desforges, 1999) to one million people (Gourevitch, 1998). The way communities and families killed neighbours and relatives has been documented by many. In light of the localised nature of this conflict, this contribution suggests that the community should be involved in the delivery of justice as part of an effort to repair the social bonds that were damaged. This article will focus on women's relationship to transitional justice in the aftermath of the conflict. The role of community-based organisations and the support they provided to widows of the conflict will be considered. Widows have been selected as the focal point as they represent a distinctive group: they must contend with gender-specific challenges in the wake of their loss and adapt to become responsible for tasks which they previously depended on male relatives to complete. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Gacaca, the formal judicial and quasi judicial models developed to aid all concerned with the means to face what had happened in order to live together peacefully, have been subject to much criticism; these will be discussed. The article will draw on empirical research exploring community-based projects that were supported by a women's charity, established to support widows and orphans in the aftermath of the genocide. Their efforts will be presented as an efficient and effective strategy of transitional justice, due to its location in the community.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Genocide, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Transitional Justice, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2012

The Special Court for Sierra Leone, Child Soldiers, and Forced Marriage: Providing Clarity or Confusion

Citation:

Oosterveld, Valerie. 2007. “The Special Court for Sierra Leone, Child Soldiers, and Forced Marriage: Providing Clarity or Confusion.” Canadian Yearbook of International Law 45: 131.

Author: Valerie Oosterveld

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2007

Crimes Against Child Soldiers in Armed Conflict Situations: Application and Limits of International Humanitarian Law

Citation:

Wells, Sarah L. 2004. “Crimes Against Child Soldiers in Armed Conflict Situations: Application and Limits of International Humanitarian Law.” Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law 12: 287-305.

Author: Sarah L. Wells

Abstract:

This article examines the application of international humanitarian law to crimes committed against child soildiers during the ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone. The author suggests that while historically, developments in international law took account of the vulnerability of children in wartime, international humanitarian law maintains that dated categories of protection do not reflect conditions of modern armed conflicts. The author argues that, instead, the experiences of child soldiers suggest that international legal prohibitions on the involvement of children in combat provide vastly inadequate legal protection. The author relies in this respect on research on crimes committed against child combatants in Sierra Leone and the limitations of international humanitarian law in relation to the prosecution of those crimes. The author argues that in order to remain relevant and effective, new developments in the field of international humanitarian law must address dated and inaccurate distinctions, which act to preclude needed legal protection of those among the most vulnerable in wartime. 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, International Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2004

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