The emerging sexual violence jurisprudence in international Humantarian law: A case study of Rwandan tribunal
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This dissertation examines developments and challenges of prosecuting crimes of sexual violence in international tribunals and takes the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as a case study. The dissertation addresses the problem of ending impunity for crimes of sexual violence committed during conflict and war. The research methodology used included sampling, data collection, data analysis and finally writing the report. It is qualitative in nature and not quantitative.Following the death of the Rwandan president in April 1994 there was occasioned a mass slaughter of the minority Tutsi that appalled the conscience of the international community. It dawned after the conflict that sexual violence was widespread and systematic and ruthlessly employed to victimise the Tutsi women and girls. In the aftermath of the genocide, recognising that serious violations of humanitarian law were committed in Rwanda, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by way of Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994. The purpose of this measure was to contribute to the process of national reconciliation in Rwanda and to enhance regional peace and stability. The ICTR has been in operation for more than a decade and has made huge contribution in developing sexual violence jurisprudence including being the first international court to hold that sexual violence could be a constituent element of the crime of genocide. Despite this achievement and unquestionable contribution of the ICTR to the growth of sexual violence jurisprudence in International Humanitarian Law, the record indicates a less than 30 per cent of convictions for sexual violence in completed cases, a record which reflects squandered opportunities and is at variance with the magnitude of the sexual violence committed during the genocide. The research came to a conclusion that this uninspiring record is due to inept investigation, half-hearted prosecution of sexual violence cases, and insensitivity on the part of some judges. The research also indicates that international instruments that pertain to sexual violence have been superseded by developments in case law and need to be revised so as to suit contemporary challenges.
- Law