Palmer 2009 Crimes

Title Information

Author: Amy Palmer

Title: An Evolutionary Analysis of Gender-Based War Crimes and the Continued Tolerance of "Forced Marriage"

Subtitle: -

Journal: Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Year: Spring 2009

Pages: 133-159

ISSN: 1549-828X – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Sierra Leonena History | Types: Forced Marriage, Wartime Rape / Sierra Leone Civil War

Full Text

Link: HeinOnline (Restricted Access)

Link: Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights (Free Access)

Additional Information

Abstract: »Gender-based war crimes have occurred for centuries and, until the modern development of ad hoc tribunals, had been largely ignored by the international community and viewed as inevitable consequences of war. Gender-based violent crimes and sexually violent crimes have been charged in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The most recent gender-based international criminal prosecutions took place in the SCSL trials of the leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). During the armed conflict, soldiers forced women and girls to marry members of their group. The SCSL recognized this crime as "forced marriage" and categorized it as one of the "other inhumane acts" under the umbrella of crimes against humanity. For the first time in history, a court found military leaders guilty of committing other inhumane acts through forced marriage. Forced marriage subjects women to a particular psychological and moral suffering different than that experienced by victims of rape or sexual slavery. This discrepancy results from the fact that forced marriage involves forced conjugal status but may not always be sexual in nature. Therefore, it is wholly inappropriate to subsume incidences of forced marriage under the current crimes against humanity paradigm failing to specify forced marriage as one of the other inhumane acts constituting such crimes. The SCSL decisions noted the importance of charging crimes based on the uniquely damaging practice of forced marriage rather than merely focusing on certain commonalities within the offenses and charging individuals with either rape or sexual slavery. Not only has the acknowledgment of forced marriage as a crime against humanity helped advance the cause of women in , but these decisions are also significant for their potential impact on the prosecution of atrocities in the International Criminal Court (ICC). Every situation the ICC is investigating involves reports of forced marriages. Continued acknowledgement of the specific crime of forced marriage will only further the cause of women around the world, and the charge of forced marriage should therefore be recognized by the ICC as a new and independent crime against humanity.« (Source: Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights)


  I. Introduction (p. 133)
  II. History (p. 137)
    A. Gender-Based War Crimes (p. 137)
    B. International Criminal Tribunals (p. 137)
      1. Nuremberg and Tokyo International Military Tribunals (p. 138)
      2. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (p. 139)
      3. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (p. 140)
      4. Other Ad hoc Tribunals (p. 140)
    C. Development of International Crimes of Gender-Based Violence (p. 141)
      1. Akayesu Case (p. 141)
      2. Celebici Camp Case (p. 141)
      3. Furundz Ija Case (p. 142)
      4. Kunarac Case (p. 142)
      5. Kvocka Case (p. 142)
      6. Relationship to AFRC Case (Brima, Kamara, Kanu) (p. 142)
  III. Sierra Leone and the Special Court (p. 143)
    A. History of the Conflict (p. 143)
    B. Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls during the Conflict (p. 144)
    C. Creation of the Speacial Court for Sierra Leone (p. 145)
      1. Court Authority/Jurisdiction (p. 146)
      2. Statute for Special Court for Sierra Leone and National Law (p. 146)
  IV. AFRC Case–Charge of Forced Marriage (p. 147)
    A. Facts of Prosectur v. Brima, Kamara, Kanu (p. 148)
    B. Applicable Law to Charge of Forced Marriage – Applied by Trial Chamber (p. 148)
      1. Count 6: Rape (p. 148)
      2. Count 7: Sexual Slavery and Any Other Form of Sexual Violence (p. 149)
      3. Count 8: Other Inhumane Acts (p. 149)
      4. Count 9: Outrages Upon Personal Dignity (p. 150)
    C. Judgment/Sentence (p. 151)
    D. Separate Concurring Opinion of Hon. Justice Julia Sebutinde (p. 151)
    E. Partly Dissenting Opinion of Justice Doherty on Count 7 (Sexual Slavery) and Count 8 (Forced Marriage) (p. 152)
    F. AFRC Appeal (p. 153)
  V. Pressure for Change (p. 154)
    A. New Women's Rights Legislation (p. 155)
    B. Ramifications on the International Criminal Court (p. 156)
    C. Analysis of Forced Marriage in Light of Evident Changes in Domestic Policies and the Current Focus of International Organizations and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions on Gender-Based Crimes (p. 157)
  VI. Conclusion (p. 159)

Wikipedia: Forced marriage; Wartime sexual violence: Sierra Leone Civil War

Added: February 21, 2015 – Last updated: February 21, 2015