The tools to combat the war on women's bodies : rape and sexual violence against women in armed conflict
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The international journal of human rights, Vol. 16, no. 3, March 2012, p. 533-553
Without doubt since the 1990s inroads have been made in the development of international law in the sphere of sexual violence and armed conflict. Due to the progress made in international law itself and the tribunals of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, international law can now be seen to have an array of tools with which to combat and prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence. These tools include humanitarian law, the Genocide Convention, crimes against humanity, customary international law, in particular the rules of jus cogens and the Rome Statute. An analysis will be made in this article of the effectiveness of these tools and how they can be utilised in order to prevent the on-going onslaught on women's bodies. It will be seen that the gradual acknowledgement of rape and sexual violence as an international crime has the potential of empowering women and can give them the ability to use international law as a powerful tool to redress violence perpetrated against them in armed conflict. This article will then examine whether this potential is in fact a reality for women who have suffered sexual abuse in armed conflict or have the developments merely paid lip service to these crimes and not been as progressive as was first hoped.
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