Criminalising rape and sexual violence in armed conflicts : evolving criminality and culpability from the Geneva Conventions to the Bangladesh International Crimes Trial
M Rafiqul Islam
Revisiting the Geneva Conventions : 1949-2019
Leiden : Brill Nijhoff, 2019
Bibliography : p. 238-243
Widespread sexual atrocities were committed by the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborating auxiliary forces during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971. These crimes included rape, gang rape, sexual captivity, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, the birth of war babies, sexual assault, invasive body searches, and other similar acts. This systematic and pervasive gender-based violence was an integral part of a conscious and deliberate policy and plan of the Pakistani occupation army to destroy the victims’ familial importance and their humiliation was meant to be seen, heard, watched, and told as a weapon of war. This chapter traces the evolutionary process of criminalising wartime rape and sexual violence as a prosecutable international crime from the Geneva Conventions to the ongoing international crimes trials in Bangladesh. It examines the extent to which criminality and culpability of wartime rapes and other sexual violence has been articulated and how rape has constituted crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and a weapon of war within the corpus of international criminal norms of prohibition from the Geneva Conventions to Bangladesh.