Background Materials — Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

  • Relevant Treaties (in reverse chronological order)

  • Intergovernmental Organizations (alphabetical by organization, then reverse chronological order)

    • Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, Strategic Plan 2016–2018 (Jul. 6, 2015). Available online, archived.

      See Strategic goal 2: "continue to integrate a gender perspective in all areas of the Office’s work and to implement the policies in relation to SGBC and crimes against children" at 19.

    • Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender Based Crimes, (Jun. 2014). Available online, archived.

      A policy commitment by the ICC and specific measures to fulfill its duties under the Rome Statute of ending impunity for sexual and gender based crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.

    • Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, Strategic plan, June 2012–2015 (Oct. 11, 2013). Available online, archived.

      See Strategic goal 3: "enhance the integration of a gender perspective in all areas of our work and continue to pay particular attention to sexual and gender based crimes and crimes against children" at 27.

    • Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Best Practices Manual for the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Violence Crimes in Post-Conflict Regions: Lessons Learned from the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Jan. 30, 2014). Available online, archived.

    • Liz Kelly, Promising Practices Addressing Sexual Violence, UN Division for the Advancement of Women (2005). Available online, archived.

      Discusses sexual violence and the development of legal investigations into prosecuting crimes; discusses the limitations of prosecuting SGBV.

    • Patricia Viseur Sellers, The Prosecution of Sexual Violence in conflict: The Importance of Human Rights as Means of Interpretation, OHCHR (2008). Available online, archived.

      “Human rights law jurisprudence and international criminal law treaties that penalize trafficking or torture provide compelling legal analogies that indicate that rape and sexual violence, as international violations, often forego emphasis on the lack of consent of the victim, and instead underscore the circumstances of the criminal conduct or the status of the victim, for example, whether the victim is considered a child under international law. This paper concludes that all international judicial forums, akin to the ICC’s substantive and procedural mandate, must at a minimum, comply with human rights law and ensure that women and girls have equal access to justice under humanitarian norms and that such access be free from gender-based discrimination.”

    • Foreign & Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom, International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict (Jun. 2014). Available online, archived.

    • United Nations Security Council, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Report of the Secretary-General, UN Doc. S/2015/203 (Mar. 23, 2015) available online.

    • High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, HR/P/PT/8/Rev.1 (2004). Available online, archived.

    • World Health Organization & United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Strengthening the Medico-Legal Response to Sexual Violence (Nov. 2015). Available online, archived.

    • World Health Organization, Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting, and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies (Aug. 10, 2007). Available online, archived.

    • World Health Organization, Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Interviewing Trafficked Women, at 16, 23 (2003). Available online, archived.

  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (alphabetical by organization, then reverse chronological order)

    • Stephen Smith Cody, Alexa Koenig, Andrea Lampros, & Julia Rayner, UC Berkeley HRC, First Responders: An International Workshop on Collecting and Analyzing Evidence of International Crimes (Sep. 2014). Available online, archived.

    • Human Rights Center, University of California at Berkeley, Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Scientific Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court, Workshop Report (Oct. 24, 2012). Available online, archived.

      Report following an ICC–Human Rights Center workshop convened in order to promote an ongoing exchange of ideas, expertise, and strategies for the application of new and emerging scientific methods and technologies to judicial investigations of serious international crimes; and to expand the range of strategic and technological resources for investigators and prosecutors to use in pursuing accountability for such crimes.

    • Julie Freccero, Lauren Harris, Melissa Carnay, & Cole Taylor, Responding to Sexual Violence: Community Approaches, UC Berkeley HRC (May 2011). Available online, archive.

      Discusses alternative community approaches to crimes of sexual violence, and how these approaches serve crucial functions in bolstering accountability for sexual violence

    • Kim Thuy Seelinger, Helene Silverberg, & Robin Mejia, The Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Violence: A Working Paper of the Sexual Violence & Accountability Project, UC Berkeley HRC (May 2011). Available online, archive.

      “Despite the increasing acceptance of sexual violence as a crime under both national and international law, many victims still encounter great difficulty obtaining justice. This paper explores specific challenges that can arise in the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence, as well as promising responses to these challenges. It reviews the barriers that deter victims from bringing sexual violence cases, the obstacles to coherent and gender-sensitive investigation and prosecution of sexual violence-based crimes, and the challenges—especially for victims—of ensuring successful trials.”

    • Institute for International Criminal Investigations, Guidelines for Investigating Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender-based Violence Against Men and Boys (Feb. 29, 2016) . Available online, archived.

    • Maxine Marcus, Q&A with Expert on criminal courts and prosecuting gender-based violence perpetrators, bringing victims in for their day in court, UN Women (Sept. 19, 2012). Available online, archived.

      ICTY Prosecutor Maxine Marcus, an expert on criminal investigations and prosecutions of gender-based crimes, talks to UN Women on the present and future of prosecuting gender-based crimes.

    • Susana SáCouto, Investigative Management, Strategies, and Techniques of the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor, Am. U. Wash. C. L., WCRO (Oct. 2012). Available online, archived.

      “[I]t is worth examining some of the potentially problematic aspects of the Office’s investigative practices that have been identified by the judges of the Court and outside observers to date. The aim of this report is to explore some of those issues and offer recommendations that we hope will contribute to improving the OTP’s investigative practices[.]”

    • Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, available online (last visited Mar. 31, 2016).

      “The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (Women’s Initiatives) is an international women’s human rights organisation that advocates for gender justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) and through domestic mechanisms, including peace negotiations and justice processes. We work with women most affected by the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC, and collaborate with more than 6,000 grassroots partners, associates and members across multiple armed conflicts. Victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence inform the voice of the Women’s Initiatives.”

  • Articles (alphabetical by author)

    • Kelly Askin, Prosecuting Wartime Rape and Other Gender-Related Crimes Under International Law: Extraordinary Advances, Enduring Obstacles, 21 Berkeley J. Int’l L. 288 (2003). Available online, archived.

      Reviews the historical development of international laws most relevant to women during periods of war or mass violence. Examines the treatment of gender-related crimes in post WWII trials, including jurisprudence developed at the ICTY, the ICTR, and the ICC.

    • Jocelyn Campanaro, Women, War, and International Law: The Historical Overview of Treatment of Gender-Based War Crimes, 89 Geo. L.J. 2557 (2001).

      Provides historical overview of the relationship between international law and sexually-based crimes.

    • Kimberly E. Carson, Reconsidering the Theoretical Accuracy and Prosecutorial Effectiveness of International Tribunals’ Ad Hoc Approaches to Conceptualizing Crimes of Sexual Violence as War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Acts of Genocide, 39 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1249 (May 2012). HeinOnline paywall, EBSCO Host paywall.

      Discusses the evolution of the status of sexual violence in international law and the politics of naming crimes as ‘sexual’; includes a discussion of the prosecution of sexual-based crimes at international tribunals.

    • Christian M. De Vos, Investigating from Afar: The ICC’s Evidence Problem, 26 Leiden J. Int’l L. 1009 (Dec. 2013). Cambridge Journals paywall, ResearchGate paywall, EBSCO Host paywall, Academia paywall.

      Rather than positioning the ICC as a remote site of justice, the OTP must locate its investigative work more thoroughly on the territories in which it is engaged. The composition of its staff has also been insufficiently reflective of the countries under investigation and its relationships with individuals and institutions on the ground poorly managed. Despite relying heavily on the knowledge that these local actors can bring, the OTP has too often employed a unilateral approach to evidence gathering, failing to integrate their concerns and priorities into the investigative process.

    • Elena Gekker, Rape, Sexual Slavery, and Forced Marriage at the International Criminal Court: How Katanga Utilizes a Ten-Year Old Rule But Overlooks New Jurisprudence, 25 Hastings Women’s L.J. 105 (2014).

      Examines the history of international prosecution of sexually-based crimes, discusses the precedents set by the ICTR and the ICTY in Akayesu, Furundija, and Kunarac, and why these decisions have become the legal standard for prosecution and conviction of sexual violence crimes at the ICC .

    • Courtney Ginn, Ensuring the Effective Prosecution of Sexually Violent Crimes in the Bosnian War Crimes Chamber: Applying Lessons from the ICTY, 27 Emory Int’l L. Rev. 565 (2013). Online html, online pdf, archived.

      Provides thorough analysis of the ICTY’s difficulty in prosecuting sexually violent crimes.

    • Dianne Luping, Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes Before the International Criminal Court, 17 Am. U. J. Gender & Soc. Pol’y & L. 431, 495 (2009) . Available online, archived.

      Includes a discussion of historical developments and prosecution of SGBV before international courts or tribunals, ICC’s legal framework for dealing with SGBV, and proposals for mainstreaming approaches to these crimes.

    • Catharine A. MacKinnon, The ICTR’s Legacy on Sexual Violence, 14 New Eng. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 211, 215 (Dec. 2, 2008). Available online, archived.

    • Melanie O’Brien, Sexual Exploitation and Beyond: Using the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to Prosecute UN Peacekeepers for Gender-based Crimes, 11 Int’l Crim. L. Rev. 803 (2011). Available online, archived.

      Allegations and confirmed cases of misconduct by peacekeeping personnel have been revealed by non-governmental organizations, the press, and UN investigations. The majority of misconduct has fallen under the term "sexual exploitation and abuse." This article discusses accountability in international criminal law for such conduct, first exploring the development of gender-based crime in international criminal law, with a focus on the Rome Statute.

    • Sophie O'Connell, Gender Based Crimes at the International Criminal Court, Plymouth L. Rev. 1 (2010). Available online, archived.

      This article examines why, despite the extensive provision in the Rome Statute, the ICC is failing to advance the prosecution of gender based crimes. It also considers the wider impact of this failure in particular on the ICC ’s role in assisting national courts to prosecute war crimes and in deterring the commission of such crimes.

    • Andrea R. Phelps, Gender-Based War Crimes: Incidence and Effectiveness of International Criminal Prosecution, 12 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 499 (2006). Available online, archived.

      “Discussing the difficulty of prosecuting gender based crimes, the boundaries of international criminal prosecution today and the definitions of gender-based war crimes, and the nature and effectiveness of past ad hoc tribunals in relation to gender-based crimes.”

    • Susana SáCouto & Katherine Cleary, Importance of Effective Investigation of Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Crimes at the International Criminal Court, 17 Am. U. J. Gender & Soc. Pol’y & L. 337, 373 (2009) . Available online, archived.

      Includes statutory analysis; the role of complementarity in gender-based crimes; and a discussion of ineffective investigations, prosecutorial omissions and errors, and the tendency for chambers to require a higher level of proof in these types of cases.

    • Susana SáCouto, Perspectives on Crimes of Sexual Violence in International Law: Advances and Challenges at the International Criminal Court, 19 ILSA J. Int’l & Comp. L. 263 (2013). Lexis/Nexis paywall.

      Provides statutory analysis for the ICC prosecution and investigation of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as recommendations for prosecuting these crimes.

  • Books (in alphabetical order by author)

    • Rethinking Rape Law: International and Comparative Perspectives (Clare McGlynn & Vanessa E. Munro eds., Routledge-Cavendish, May 29, 2010).

      Discusses the challenges in prosecuting rape law, as well as the shame and stigma attached to victims of sexual violence.