International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Bensouda to end violence against women

25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. An article posted just this afternoon, in light of yesterday’s significance, urges ratification of the Rome Statute, by highlighting its influence upon ensuring justice for gender-based crimes.

“The Statute is one of the first international treaties to extensively address gender-based crimes as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and in some instances, genocide. Specifically, the Statute recognizes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilizations, gender-based persecutions, trafficking of persons particularly women and children, and sexual violence as among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.”

Though since states must provide the Court with adequate cooperation and resources to investigate and prosecute these gender-based crimes, and since authorities on the national level, too, must take action to removing obstacles to effectively investigate and prosecute these crimes, sexual violence has been a topic on the back burner. But without its provision in the Rome Statute, the importance of sexual violence and gender-based crimes could be otherwise debatable.

Fatou Bensouda, the ICC’s first woman Prosecutor, stated during her oath in June of this year that investigating and prosecuting gender-based crimes will be a priority for her office. Despite the past ten years’ results, during which the Statute’s promise for gender-based justice has not justifiably been carried out, can we expect to see Bensouda effectively implement the elimination of violence against women? Can we expect to see, as a result of the gender change in the Prosecutor’s seat, a stronger lead on ending impunity for crimes against women?


One response to “Bensouda to end violence against women

  1. mhdeck November 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Bensouda’s current actions would lead us to believe that she is committed to sexual violence and crimes against women. In general, it appears that Bensouda is shifting the focus of the prosecution of the ICC. At the conference of the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers Bensouda spoke about the changes in the international community towards prosecuting crimes of sexual violence and protecting women; moreover, international law has evolved such that the ICC has more power to prosecute sexual violence. Additionally, Bensouda appointed Brigid Inder as the Special Gender Advisor. Bensouda said that having Inder in office will bring “gender perspective” to all of the cases the ICC deals with. This move by Bensouda seems to support the idea that the ICC is working to be more effective when dealing with crimes of sexual violence.

    Perhaps, Besouda’s focus on crimes of sexual violence is coupled with her focus on victim communities ( Bensouda understands the victims of the crimes punished by the ICC to be the most vulnerable in society. Many of the victims of those crimes are the victims of sexual violence. Bensouda makes it clear the role of the prosecution will be to systematically ensure that perpetrators are punished and victims are recognized. From her actions and remarks a stronger effort from the ICC to prosecute crimes of sexual violence can be expected.

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