War Crimes against Women: Prosecution in International War Crimes Tribunals

TitleWar Crimes against Women: Prosecution in International War Crimes Tribunals
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsAskin, Kelly
PublisherDistributed in the USA and Canada by Kluwer Law International
CityThe Hague
Abstract

This book examines laws and customs of war prohibiting rape crimes dating back thousands of years, even though gender-specific crimes, particularly sex crimes, have been prevalent in wartime for centuries. It surveys the historical treatment of women in wartime, and argues that all the various forms of gender-specific crimes must be prosecuted and punished. It reviews the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals from a gendered perspective, and discusses how crimes against women could have been prosecuted in these tribunals and suggests explanations as to why they were neglected. It addresses the status of women in domestic and international law during the past one hundred years, including the years preceding World War II and in the aftermath of this war, and in the years immediately preceding the Yugoslav conflict. The evolution of the status and participation of women in international human rights and international humanitarian law is analyzed, including the impact domestic law and practice has had on international law and practice. Finally, this book reviews gender-specific crimes in the Yugoslav conflict, and presents arguments as to how various gender-specific crimes (including rape, forced prostitution, forced impregnation, forced maternity, forced sterilization, genocidal rape, and sexual mutilation) can be, and why they must be, prosecuted under Articles 2-5 of the Yugoslav Statute (i.e., as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, torture, violations of the laws of war, violations of the customs of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity). The author, a human rights attorney, academic, and activist, spent three years researching both the treatment of women during periods of armed conflict and humanitarian laws protecting women from war crimes.

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