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Sexual violence in non-international armed conflict: a tactic of warfare or an act of torture under international law?

Nicholas, Tyson LU (2019) JAMM07 20191
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
Conflict-related sexual violence should not be regarded just a symptom of war or evidence of its violent excess. It is criminalised as a violation of international law, as a war crime, a crime against humanity and, in some cases, as a component of genocide. It brings overwhelming social, psychological and economic consequences to survivors, families, communities and nation states. Conflict-related sexual violence exacerbates tensions and is a direct threat to the principles of human dignity and integrity of the person.

In 2008 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, following on from the earlier adoption of the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), recognised that conflict-related... (More)
Conflict-related sexual violence should not be regarded just a symptom of war or evidence of its violent excess. It is criminalised as a violation of international law, as a war crime, a crime against humanity and, in some cases, as a component of genocide. It brings overwhelming social, psychological and economic consequences to survivors, families, communities and nation states. Conflict-related sexual violence exacerbates tensions and is a direct threat to the principles of human dignity and integrity of the person.

In 2008 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, following on from the earlier adoption of the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), recognised that conflict-related sexual violence particularly targets women and girls and constitutes a threat to international peace and security. For the first time in formal UN policy, conflict-related sexual violence was characterised as a tactic of warfare that is used to target and terrorise a civilian population.

In classifying conflict-related sexual violence as a tactic of warfare, the UN Security Council created legal uncertainty due to the implications for the use of such a term. Furthermore, the UN Security Council missed a significant opportunity to reaffirm the well-established international legal position that conflict-related sexual violence constitutes torture, a conscious crime of concern to the international community given its special nature under international law. Characterising conflict-related sexual violence as torture, vice a tactic, would have served to improve the accountability for criminal acts of sexual violence in armed conflict.

This study identifies lacunae within international law and provides recommendations to help shape the discourse on the topic of accountability for acts of conflict-related sexual violence. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
@misc{8994947,
  abstract     = {Conflict-related sexual violence should not be regarded just a symptom of war or evidence of its violent excess. It is criminalised as a violation of international law, as a war crime, a crime against humanity and, in some cases, as a component of genocide. It brings overwhelming social, psychological and economic consequences to survivors, families, communities and nation states. Conflict-related sexual violence exacerbates tensions and is a direct threat to the principles of human dignity and integrity of the person.

In 2008 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, following on from the earlier adoption of the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), recognised that conflict-related sexual violence particularly targets women and girls and constitutes a threat to international peace and security. For the first time in formal UN policy, conflict-related sexual violence was characterised as a tactic of warfare that is used to target and terrorise a civilian population. 

In classifying conflict-related sexual violence as a tactic of warfare, the UN Security Council created legal uncertainty due to the implications for the use of such a term. Furthermore, the UN Security Council missed a significant opportunity to reaffirm the well-established international legal position that conflict-related sexual violence constitutes torture, a conscious crime of concern to the international community given its special nature under international law. Characterising conflict-related sexual violence as torture, vice a tactic, would have served to improve the accountability for criminal acts of sexual violence in armed conflict.

This study identifies lacunae within international law and provides recommendations to help shape the discourse on the topic of accountability for acts of conflict-related sexual violence.},
  author       = {Nicholas, Tyson},
  keyword      = {Conflict-related sexual violence,sexual violence in armed conflict,war crime,crime against humanity,genocide,torture,tactic of warfare,international humanitarian law,international human rights law,international criminal law,non-international armed conflict,UN Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008),Un Security Council Resolution 1325 (200),Women Peace and Security,South Sudan},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Sexual violence in non-international armed conflict: a tactic of warfare or an act of torture under international law?},
  year         = {2019},
}