Gender-Based Violence and Justice inConflict and Post-Conflict Areas

Authored by: Rashida Manjoo and Calleigh McRaith

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Mass Atrocities, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Transitional Justice
Region: No Region
Year: 2011
Citation: Manjoo, Rashida and Calleigh McRaith. "Gender-Based Violence and Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Areas." Cornell International Law Journal 44 no. 1 (2011): 11-31.

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War is an inherently patriarchal activity, and rape is one of the most extreme expressions of the patriarchal drive toward masculine domination over the woman. This patriarchal ideology is further enforced by the
aggressive character of the war itself, that is to dominate and control another nation or people.” In the past decade, the relationship between gender-based violence (GBV) and armed conflicts has received much international attention. The impact and implications of violence against women have led to numerous attempts to address accountability and impunity issues through processes that include access to justice mechanisms. Despite efforts to address issues of GBV in conflict and post-conflict areas and to raise awareness of these issues, GBV continues to be a major problem. In many conflict settings throughout the world, women continue to experience gender-targeted violence, such as rape, sexual slavery, and a host of other human rights abuses, as part of military campaigns and as a result of the breakdown of community norms which tend to accompany armed conflicts. They experience violence at the hands of government actors, non-state militaries (including rebel forces and dissidents), community members, and even, tragically, the peacekeeping forces that are sent to protect them and restore order. Furthermore, women remain vulnerable to violence following an armed conflict, as research indicates a strong rise in domestic violence, sex trafficking, and forced prostitution in post-conflict areas. In addition, the needs of women who are victims of GBV are either overlooked or inadequately addressed by transitional justice mechanisms, including truth commissions, war crimes hearings, and reparation schemes. This Article aims to provide a brief overview of GBV in conflict and post-conflict settings, with a particular focus on recent international standard-setting developments and the continuing challenges of impunity and inadequate services for GBV victims.