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Smart Library on Globalization > Genocide > Topic 3: Rape and Genocide > Rape and Genocide >

Overview: Rape and Genocide

RapeMayBeanActofGenocideinInternationalLaw
It was not until 1998 that it became clear that rape could constitute genocide in international law. Even though rape was not mentioned in the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found that widespread and systematic rape could be used to destroy an ethnic group. Rapewasnotspecificallymentionedinthe1948UnitedNationsGenocide Convention.Genocideinvolvedanumberofactscarriedoutwiththeintenttodestroy anational,racial,ethnicorreligiousgroupinwholeorinpart.Whilesuchactsas imposingmeasuresintendedtopreventbirthswerelistedintheConvention,rape,as such,wasnot. However,thingschangedin1998whentheInternationalCriminalTribunalfor Rwandahandeddownitsdecisionin rosecutor v. Akayesu. P Related Links:
Rape May Be a Crime against Humanity in International Law Rape May Be a War Crime The Statute of the International Criminal Court Protects against Sexual Crimes Consensus Increases on Rape in International Law How Rape Became a Crime against Humanity

How Rape Became an Act of Genocide


Whatbecamethemostimportantcaseforprosecutingrapeasaninternationalcrime didnotinitiallyincluderapeintheindictment.The CTRwassetuptotrycrimes I associatedwiththe1994Rwandangenocide.Jean-PaulAkayesu,amayorofTaba, Rwandawasindictedonanumberofcountsofgenocide,crimesagainsthumanity andviolationsoftheGenevaConvention.Duringthetrial,awitness'stestimony promptedtheprosecutortoaskforaleaveofcourtinordertofurtherinvestigatethe crimesbeingdescribedand,ifneedbe,amendtheindictment.Thecourtgrantedthe requestandfurtherevidencecametolight.

Witnessafterwitnesstestifiedandabrutalpictureemergedofwidespreadandsystematicrapeandsexualviolence.Whilerape wasnotastand-alonecrimeundertheICTRstatute,itcouldbedefinedtoconstitutegenocide.Inotherwords,rapecouldbe prosecutedbecauseitwasusedtocarryoutgenocidesolongastheintentwastodestroythetargetethnicgroup.

Rape and Acts of Genocide


ThereareseveralactsthatcanconstitutegenocidelistedintheGenocideConvention.TheICTRexplicitlylinkedrapetothese actstomakeclearhowgenocidecouldbeaccomplishedthroughrape. Inflicting serious harm. TheGenocideConventionlistscausingseriousbodilyormentalharmasapotentiallygenocidal act.TheICTRstatedthat,[R]apeandsexualviolencecertainlyconstituteinflictionofseriousbodilyandmentalharmon thevictimsandareeven,accordingtotheChamber,oneoftheworstwaysofinflictingharmonthevictim.... Conditions calculated to bring about physical destruction.Womenareoftenthekeylinktotheculturalandphysical continuityofagroup.Rapedwomenareoftenoutcastandsothemassrapeofagroup'swomendestroysbondsthathold thegrouptogether.Asonewriterputit,Rapingwomeninacommunitycanbeseenasrapingthebodyofthecommunity. Preventing births.Rwandansurvivorstoldstoriesofsexualmutilationandviolentrapethatleftsurvivorssterileand physicallyunabletoengageinintercourse.TheTribunalfoundthatsexualmutilation,thepracticeofsterilization,forced birthcontrol,separationofthesexes,andprohibitionofmarriagescouldbeconstruedasmeasurestopreventbirths withinthetargetethnicgroup.Also,ifrapedwomensubsequentlyrefusetohavechildrenbecauseoftheirtrauma,the crimeisgenocidal. Forcibly transferring children from one group to another group.Thecourtalsofoundthatinpatriarchalsocieties, wheremembershipofagroupisdeterminedbytheidentityofthefather,forcedpregnancythroughrapecanconstitute genocidewhentheintentisforthevictimtogivebirthtoachildwhowillconsequentlynotbelongtoitsmother'sgroup. ThemassrapesofTutsiwomenresultednotonlyinthephysicalandpsychologicaldestructionofthewomen,but,accordingto thecourt,theirfamiliesandcommunitiesaswell.Thesexualviolencewasanintegralpartoftheprocessofdestruction.

Bottom Line
Thefirstcaseininternationallawtoexplicitlytierapetogenocidewasdecidedin1998bytheICTR.Becauseofthejudgmentin the Akayesucase,rapeandsexualassaultcouldbeprosecutedasgenocidesolongastheintentoftheperpetratorswasto destroythetargetgroupinwholeorinpart.TheTribunalmadeitclearforthefirsttimethatgenocidecouldbeaccomplished throughrape.

Data and Methods:


Data Sources: Analysisoflegaldoctrineandjurisprudence. Funding Sources: Notreported.
2012 USDA Evidence Analysis Library. Printed on: 06/29/12 - from: http://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?format_tables=0&keytext_id=201

2012 USDA Evidence Analysis Library. Printed on: 06/29/12 - from: http://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?format_tables=0&keytext_id=201

Notreported.

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Reference
Ellis,Mark.2007."BreakingtheSilence:RapeasanInternationalCrime."Case W. Res. J. Int'l L.38:225-247. Authors MarkEllis

OtherKeytextsfromthissource
ConsensusIncreasesonRapeinInternationalLaw RapeMayBeaCrimeagainstHumanityinInternationalLaw RapeMayBeaWarCrime TheStatuteoftheInternationalCriminalCourtProtectsagainstSexualCrimes
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2012 USDA Evidence Analysis Library. Printed on: 06/29/12 - from: http://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?format_tables=0&keytext_id=201

2012 USDA Evidence Analysis Library. Printed on: 06/29/12 - from: http://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?format_tables=0&keytext_id=201