sexual violence

article
Judge Yassmin Barrios presiding the Sepur Zarco trial in Guatemala (Photo: Twitter/@usembassyguate)
03 February 2016 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

Guatemala this week started the landmark trial of two former military officers who face charges of sexual and domestic slavery and forced disappearances. This marks the first time – ever and anywhere – that a national court will hear charges of sexual slavery committed during an armed conflict.

 

blog
Bosco Ntaganda at the start of his trial (Flickr/ ICC-CPI)
02 September 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The trial of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda which opened before the International Criminal Court Wednesday is a test of the prosecutor’s new strategy to look at sexual and gender-based violence in all of the cases [IJT-179].

In this case,  for the first time, the ICC has agreed that sexual violence against child soldiers by their own commanders could constitute a war crime. 

issue
Victims' widows and survivors thank lawyers after a court's March 2015 sentence against Habré's agents (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
17 June 2015

In IJT 184, veteran war crimes tribunal journalist and former IJT editor Thierry Cruvellier analyzes the significance of Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré's upcoming trial at the Extraordinary African Chambers.

Other features:

  • There's a new start date for the retrial of former Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt
  • Scholars say it's time for a crimes against humanity convention
  • Complementarity remains a guessing game at the International Criminal Court

News brief:

Sudan's President Bashir gets away again but who looks worse: the ICC or South Africa?

article
Ixil Mayan women attend Rios Montt trial in Guatemala in April 2013 (Photo: Flickr/9975353@N0)
16 June 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

After repeated delays, the retrial of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his head of intelligence, facing charges of genocide and crimes and against humanity, is scheduled to begin on 23 July. Prosecution of Guatemala’s human rights violators has been hindered by endless delays as defence teams have used a myriad of excuses – particularly defendants’ purported ill health – to prevent trials from moving forward. But even though progress has been painfully slow, witnesses remain upbeat and determined to testify.

article
A demonstration outside the Guatemalan embassy in Mexico against the overturned sentence of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt (Photo: Flickr/Amnistía Mexico)
18 May 2015 by Louisa Reynolds, Guatemala City (Guatemala)

After decades of slow justice, Colombian and Guatemalan victims of sexual crimes committed during their respective countries’ armed conflicts are fighting to get their cases heard. In late April, Colombian human rights organizations called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intervene and start prosecuting. Meanwhile, in Guatemala late last year, after decades of silence and neglect, victims of sexual violence achieved an important victory when a landmark sexual slavery trial opened.

issue
Former Khmer Rouge minister Ieng Thirith, charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions, appears at a pretrial hearing at the Cambodia tribunal in 2010. (Photo: Flickr/ECCC POOL/Tang Chhin Sothy)
20 May 2015

IJT 182 explores how so-called chivalrous beliefs and practices may be behind the rare prosecution of female war crimes suspects.

Other features:

  • A tug-of-war between Uganda and DRC over the extradition of Jamil Mukulu highlights trouble with judicial cooperation in Africa.
  • Colombian and Guatemalan survivors of sexual violence during their countries' armed conflicts fight for justice.
  • The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement tries to excise Balkan suspects of war crimes.

News brief:

  • A trial date for Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré has finally been set.
     
article
Bosco Ntaganda, for whom the ICC pre-trial chamber unanimously confirmed all charges of sexual and gender-based crimes (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 April 2015 by Ella Sonja West, The Hague (The Netherlands)

At the International Criminal Court (ICC), prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence has been notoriously difficult. Documentary evidence has often proved insufficient and local officials, unwilling to cooperate. Despite such challenges, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), since Fatou Bensouda took over in 2012, has prioritized prosecution of such crimes.

article
Sabiha Husic runs the NGO Medica Zenica, which helps Bosnia's wartime rape survivors
27 January 2015 by Nidzara Ahmetasevic, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Despite growing concern for and openness about wartime rapes in Bosnia, the thousands of women estimated to have been raped during the 1992-1995 conflict there are still largely neglected by the state and society, concludes a leading NGO dealing with victims.

article
14 May 2014 by Louise Jones, Goma (DRC)

Last week a military court in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), delivered a long-awaited judgment. For the past six months, 39 soldiers of the Congolese army were on trial for war crimes including looting, mass rape and murder. But to the disappointment of the 190 victims who had filed a complaint as civil parties, only two soldiers were convicted of rape and all the officers but one cleared. The remaining 25 men were convicted, mainly, of looting and indiscipline.

article
23 July 2014 by Luciana Bertoia, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

More than 37 years after being abducted, Graciela García Romero looked around the court and said: “Time does not help. The pain does not subside.” She is one of around 200 survivors of Argentina’s notorious ESMA concentration camp, known in English as the Navy Mechanics School. In May last year, she appeared before the Federal Criminal Oral Court, which is prosecuting crimes committed at the clandestine detention centre in Buenos Aires that operated during Argentina’s last dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983. A verdict in this trial is expected before yearend.

Pages