Feminism and its (Dis)Contents: Criminalizing Wartime Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Authored by: Karen Engle

Categories: Humanitarian Emergencies, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Transitional Justice
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2005
Citation: Engle, Karen. "Feminism and its (Dis)Contents: Criminalizing Wartime Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina." American Journal of International Law 99, no. 4 (2005): 778-816.

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This article critically examines early feminist debates over the treatment of rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and traces their resonances in the structure and jurisprudence of the ICTY. Observing that problematic assumptions about ethnic identity and women’s sexual and political agency emerged in the debates and ultimately wove their way into the ICTY’s legal treatment of rape, the article argues that the international criminalization of rape might be neither as pathbreaking nor as progressive as the doctrinal recognition might suggest.