Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, and Obligations Under International Law

Authored by: Sareta Ashraph

Categories: Conflict Prevention, Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (DRRR), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2018
Citation: Ashraph, Sareta. Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, and Obligations Under International Law. Report. 2018.

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Executive Summary

Gender permeates the crime of genocide. It is woven into the perpetrators’ planning and commission of coordinated acts that make up the continuum of genocidal violence. It is through these gendered annihilative acts that perpetrators maximize the crime’s destructive impact on protected groups. The continuing failure to acknowledge the complexity of genocidal violence—and the distinct ways in which genocide is planned and committed against men and women, boys and girls, by reason of their gender—has undercut the development of an effective framework to mobilize the Genocide Convention’s legal obligations to prevent and punish genocide. It has limited political, diplomatic, and military authorities’ capacity to recognize where there is a serious risk of genocide occurring, and to identify and suppress genocides that are in progress. This has particular consequences for female victims, who are often subjected to a wider range of violations that occur over a relatively longer span of time. A failure to grapple with the intrinsic role that gender plays the crime of genocide has undercut the progressive framework for understanding and action offered by the Convention. One cannot prevent and punish what one does not recognize. A gendered analysis is essential to illuminate the multi-dimensional nature of this crime, and the gamut of its victims. In this way we recognize, remember, and protect all those whose lives have been, or may still be, ripped asunder by the scourge of genocide.