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The Pace of Progress: Addressing Crimes of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Generation After Rome

  • Gabrielle Louise McIntyre (a1)
Extract

When it was adopted in 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) represented a significant breakthrough regarding sexual and gender-based crimes—crimes that, for centuries, had proliferated in armed conflicts but had been disregarded, mischaracterized, or misunderstood as the inevitable by-products of war or a legitimate part of its spoils. Not only did the Rome Statute explicitly treat a broad range of sexual acts as crimes against humanity and war crimes, but it also recognized gender-based violence as a crime and incorporated a number of provisions aimed at ensuring greater institutional attention to sexual and gender-based crimes. However, abstract possibilities do not always translate into concrete results, and the ICC has been slow to effectuate its innovative statutory provisions. This essay will explore some of the obstacles encountered and opportunities missed by the Court over the last twenty years, as well as highlighting welcome strides made in recent years to fulfill, at least in part, the promise of Rome.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Footnotes
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The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mechanism, the United Nations, or the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice. I would like to thank Willow D. Crystal for her editorial assistance.

Footnotes
References
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1 Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, ICC-01/04-01/06-T-356, Prosecutor Closing Arguments, 54 (Aug. 25, 2011).

2 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court art. 54(1)(b), July 17, 1998, 2187 UNTS 3.

3 Prosecutor v. Katanga, ICC-01/04-01/07-3436, Judgment Pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute, para. 1664 (Mar. 7, 2014).

4 Id. at para. 1665.

5 See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Krstić, Case No. IT-98-33-T, Judgement, paras. 616–617, 727 (Int'l Crim. Trib. for the Former Yugoslavia, Aug. 2, 2001).

6 See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Kunarac, Case No. IT-96-23-T & IT-96-23/1-T, Judgement, paras. 766–774 (Int'l Crim. Trib. for the Former Yugoslavia, Feb. 22, 2001) [hereinafter Kunarac Judgement]; Prosecutor v. Muhimana, Case No. ICTR-95-1B-T, Judgement, paras. 33, 522, 611, 613 (Apr. 28, 2005).

7 See, e.g., Int'l Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes, ICC-PIDS-LT-03-002/11, 7–8 (2011) [hereinafter Elements of Crimes]; see also Kunarac Judgement, supra note 6, at para. 557.

8 Prosecutor v. Bemba, ICC-01/05-01/08-424, Decision Pursuant to Article 61(7)(a) and (b) of the Rome Statute on the Charges of the Prosecutor Against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, para. 310 (June 15, 2009).

9 See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Musema, Case No. ICTR-96-13-A, Judgement and Sentence, paras. 289–99 (Jan. 27, 2000); Prosecutor v. Karemera, Case No. ICTR-98-44-A, Judgement, para. 610 (Sept. 29, 2014).

10 Prosecutor v. Ongwen, ICC-02/04-01/15-422-Red, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges Against Dominic Ongwen, para. 32 (Mar. 23, 2016).

11 Prosecutor v. Muthaura, ICC-01/09-02/11-1, Decision on the Prosecutor's Application for Summonses to Appear for Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali, para. 27 (Mar. 8, 2011).

12 Prosecutor v. Muthaura, ICC-01/09-02/11-T-5-Red, Confirmation of Charges Hearing, 88 (Sept. 21, 2011).

13 Prosecutor v. Muthaura, ICC-01/09-02/11-382-Red, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges Pursuant to Article 61(7)(a) and (b) of the Rome Statute, para. 265 (Jan. 29, 2012).

14 Id.

15 Id. at para. 266.

16 Id.

17 Elements of Crimes, supra note 7, at 10.

18 See, e.g., Secretary General, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, U.N. Doc. S/2015/203 (Mar. 23, 2015); Secretary-General, Implementation of Security Council Resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2332 (2016), UN Doc. S/2017/244 (Mar. 22, 2017).

The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mechanism, the United Nations, or the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice. I would like to thank Willow D. Crystal for her editorial assistance.

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