Added: October 25, 2008 – Last updated: July 2, 2016


Author: Jennifer L. Zoltanski

Title: The Construction of Rape as a Crime against Humanity

Subtitle: Recognition and Prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Brandeis University

Advisor: Peter Conrad

Year: 2006

Pages: viii + 393pp.

OCLC Number: 180766063 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: Bosnian History | Prosecution: Trials / International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Bosnian War


Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »In February 2002, the Appeals Chamber of International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted three Serbian paramilitary leaders for crimes against humanity that included systematic rape and enslavement of women during war in Bosnia in 1992. Known as the Kunarac judgment, the ruling established precedence by prosecuting rape and enslavement as crimes against humanity for the first time in history. The ruling also marked the first time that rape had been prosecuted as a separate crime by an international criminal tribunal.
This study investigates the context, timing and significance of Kunarac 2002. It uses a constructionist approach to develop a comprehensive understanding of social forces that led to Kunarac 2002. The study sheds light on processes of social problem construction that generated social change through legal policy reform and its enforcement in an international war crimes tribunal. Designed as a historical case study, it culls information from written documents, fieldwork, and interviews with eighteen journalists, legal experts, women rights advocates, and Tribunal staff. I propose that historical and legal context are key to understanding the significance of Kunarac 2002. I demonstrate that despite legal restrictions, war rape has been committed with impunity throughout history. To explain prevalence, I suggest that rape serves reward, terror, and revenge purposes and can function as a component of ethnic cleansing and genocide policies.
The study finds that news media coverage, global-wide feminist mobilization against gender violence, and the presence of women in senior-level positions at the Tribunal were important to the timing of Kunarac 2002. These findings contribute to the constructionist literature on social problems and support political process models that recognize the importance of indigenous organizations and coalition networks in the development of social movements. The findings also support research on the contributions women have made to the development of international law on gender crimes.« (Source: ProQuest)


  Acknowledgments (p. iii)
  Abstract (p. v)
  1 Introduction:
A Constructionist Approach to the Study of Wartime Rape and Legal Precedence (p. 1)
  2 The Story of Foca:
War and Rape in the Former Yugoslavia (p. 35)
  3 Understanding Rape in War:
A Synthesis of Historical Cases and Their Functional Context (p. 58)
  4 Surveying Laws and Provisions Against Wartime Rape:
From Property Crime to Crime against Humanity (p. 103)
  5 "Making the Personal Political:"
Exploring Linkages between the Anti-Rape Movement in the United States, the Global Women's Movement against Gender Violence, and Kunarac 2002 (p. 141)
  6 The Role of Yugoslav and Western Feminist NGOs in the Rape Recognition and Prosecution Campaign:
An Encouraging Illustration of the Difference NGOs Make (p. 185)
  7 News Media Coverage and Recognition of Rape as a Crime against Humanity:
Exposing Atrocity, Generating Outrage, and Influencing Policy Actions (p. 226)
  8 United Nations and ICTY Actions to Prosecute Wartime Rape:
The Importance of Women's Activism in the Adjudication of Kunarac 2002 and other Landmark Sex Crime Cases (p. 265)
  9 "Turning the Corner for Gender Justice:"
The Future Impact of Gender Crimes Rulings on International Humanitarian Law and Rape Prevention (p. 304)
  Appendix A   Research Methods (p. 331)
  Appendix B   Tables B1-B4 (p. 350)
  Appendix C   Interview Schedules (p. 356)
  Appendix D   List of Interviewees (p. 363)
  Appendix E   Informed Consent Form (p. 366)
  Appendix F   Transcript Approval Form (p. 369)
  Bibliography (p. 371)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina | Court: International court / International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: Bosnian War / Rape during the Bosnian War