Mirabel News Oct. 2013: Around The World


1.    United Nations Declaration to Stop Rape in Conflict: September 24 2013.
Diplomats, government officials, women’s rights advocates, and other members of civil society gathered to mark the introduction of a new pledge to end rape in war: “The Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.” The Declaration offers an opportunity for UN member states to redouble their efforts to address gender-based violence in conflict.

Among other things, the Declaration calls for:
*    Adequate funding for sexual violence prevention and response efforts;
*   Comprehensive, improved, and timely medical and psychosocial care for survivors;
*  The exclusion of crimes of sexual violence from amnesty provisions in peace accords;
*  The full participation of women in all decision-making processes during conflict, post-conflict, and peace time;
*    Strengthened regional efforts to prevent and respond to rape in war;
*    Enhanced support for conflict-affected states for national security and justice reform efforts aimed at addressing sexual violence in conflict;
*    Military and police training on prevention and protection obligations;
*    Improved collection and access to data and evidence of sexual violence during conflict;
*    Support and protect civil society’s efforts to document cases of rape in war; and
*    The development of an International Protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict

With this new declaration, countries now have the opportunity to show–through words backed by action—that healing for survivors is an international priority and perpetrators will no longer rape with impunity.

1.    Recognizing Sexual Violence as an International Crime

In 1999, a report by the United Nations on sexual violence and armed conflict stated that historically, armies considered rape as one of the legitimate spoils of war.  It was only in 1992, in the face of widespread rapes of women in the former Yugoslavia, that the issue came to the attention of the UN Security Council. On 18 December 1992, the Council stated that the “massive, organized and systematic detention and rape of women, in particular Muslim women, in Bosnia and Herzegovina” was an international crime that must be addressed.

Subsequently, the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY, 1993) included rape as a crime against humanity when committed in armed conflict and directed against a civilian population. In 2001, the ICTY became the first international court to find an accused person guilty of rape as a crime against humanity. In addition, the definition of slavery as a crime against humanity was expanded to include sexual slavery.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR, 1994) also declared rape to be a war crime and a crime against humanity. In 1998, the ICTR became the first international court to find an accused person guilty of rape as a crime of genocide. In the case against a former mayor, Jean-Paul Akayesu, the Tribunal held that rape and sexual assault constituted acts of genocide insofar as they were committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi ethnic group.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in force since July 2002, includes rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or “any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity” as a crime against humanity when it is committed in a widespread or systematic way.

Section 18  defines acts that constitute  domestic violence to include sexual abuse/exploitation including rape, incest and sexual assault.

Section 2 – a victim of domestic violence (including sexual violence) can apply to court for a protection order
Section 6 – the court can give an order denying the abuser contact with the child, if it is in the best interest of the child, or give conditions for contact or make an order about who the child should stay with.
Section 11 – the law restricts the number of people who can be present during the court proceedings. The court can also  hear the matter in camera
Section 11(2) prohibits publication of the identity of the parties to the proceedings before the court or information about the matter.