n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - The International Criminal Court and victims of sexual violence

Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



In this article the authors discuss the scourge of sexual violence against women and girls and consider one possible response in the form of the recently established International Criminal Court (ICC). The article's focus is twofold. The authors first discuss the impressive (and unprecedented) number of women judges that have been appointed to the Court. The authors argue that these appointments will help to ensure that the ICC is a women-friendly institution for the victims and witnesses that appear before it. This suggestion is bolstered by the jurisprudence of the ad hoc Tribunals for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) where experience has shown that the ultimate beneficiaries of a 'fair representation of female judges' on the bench are the victims of sexual violence themselves. The composition of the ICC bench leads to the article's second focus. The authors consider the wide range of sexual offences which might be prosecuted before the ICC and, through a discussion of the ICTY and ICTR experiences, highlight the role that the ICC and its judges might play in the realisation of women's rights against sexual violence.

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