Merry 2006 Rape

Title Information

Author: Michelle Elizabeth Merry

Title: Rape as Torture

Subtitle: An Analysis of Sexual Torture in International Humanitarian Law and the Domestic Law of Sri Lanka

Thesis: Master Thesis, University of British Columbia

Year: April 2006


Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Sri Lankan History | Prosecution: Laws; Types: Wartime Rape / Sri Lankan Civil War

Full Text

Link: cIRcle [Free Access]

Additional Information

Abstract: »Sexual violence has become an increasingly visible aspect of armed conflict. Over the last decade, feminists have critiqued the lack of attention given to sexual violence in international humanitarian law and have made important contributions to the developing area of international criminal law by bringing a gender perspective to that field. This thesis examines whether characterizing rape as torture is the best way to respond to the injustices suffered by women during armed conflict. Charging rape as torture offers substantive benefits; yet, such a characterization risks leaving the sexual and gender aspects of the crime invisible. First, I examine the development of recognizing rape as torture by reviewing jurisprudence from the ICTY, ICTR, and regional human rights courts. Second, in order to measure the potential benefits of characterizing rape as torture in national legal systems, I examine reports of custodial rape from Sri Lanka and analyze provisions in Sri Lankan law which could be used to deal with such cases. I conclude that characterizing rape as torture offers significant legal advantages; however, in order to properly recognize the experiences of women who have suffered rape during armed conflict both rape and torture should be charged. The central element in the crime of rape is that a physical invasion of a sexual nature occurred under coercion, whereas the central element in torture is that an act of severe pain or suffering took place.« [Source: Thesis]


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    A. Rape as a Method of Torture (p. 1)
    B. Academic Debates (p. 4)
    C. Sri Lanka as a Case Study (p. 8)
    D. Framework of Analysis (p. 9)
  Chapter 1: Rape and Torture in International Law (p. 11)
    A. Introduction (p. 11)
    B. Rape in Humanitarian Law (p. 11)
    C. Definition of Rape (p. 16)
    D. What is to be gained in Characterizing Rape as Torture? (p. 19)
      i) Torture in International Human Rights Law (p. 19)
      ii) Torture in International Humanitarian Law (p. 20)
      iii) Prohibition against Torture as Jus Cogens (p. 21)
  Chapter 2: Recognizing Rape as a Method of Torture (p. 23)
    A. Jurisprudence from Regional Human Rights Bodies (p. 23)
    B. Jurisprudence from International Criminal Tribunals (p. 25)
      i. Celebici (Delalic (p. 25)
      ii. Akayesu (p. 26)
      iii. Furundzija (p. 27)
      iv. Kunarac (Foca Camp) (p. 28)
    C. Reports of U.N. Special Rapporteurs (p. 31)
    D. Conclusion (p. 33)
  Chapter 3: Case Study of Sri Lanka (p. 35)
    A. Background to the conflict (p. 35)
    B. Torture in the Conflict (p. 38)
    C. Sexual Violence in the Conflict (p. 40)
    D. Patterns of Rape and Sexual Violence (p. 41)
    E. Sri Lanka's Obligations under International Law (p. 43)
    F. National law on Torture (p. 44)
    E. National law on Rape (p. 45)
  Chapter 4: Analysis of Sri Lankan Provisions (p. 47)
    A. Sri Lankan Provisions (p. 47)
      i) Law on Torture (p. 47)
      ii) Law of Rape (p. 47)
    B. Fundamental Rights Provisions (p. 49)
    C. Conclusion (p. 52)
  Conclusion (p. 54)
  Bibliography (p.58)
    International Instruments (p. 58)
    Sri Lankan Legislation (p. 59)
    Jurisprudence (p. 59)
    U.N. Documents (p. 60)
    Secondary Sources (p. 61)

Wikipedia: International humanitarian law, Sri Lankan Civil War, War rape

Added: February 1, 2014 | Last updated: February 1, 2014