Preventing Sexual Violence in War

Is Fighting Impunity the Only Game in Town? Report from the Missing Peace Initiative Symposium

Authored by: Anette Bringedal Houge

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Transitional Justice
Country: Former Yugoslavia
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2018
Citation: Bringedal Houge, Anette (2018) Preventing Sexual Violence in War: Is Fighting Impunity the Only Game in Town?, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO

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Executive Summary

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) concluded its mandate at the end of 2017 (after 24 years in operation). The closure of the ICTY presented a timely occasion to reflect on and discuss the prominent role of criminal law and justice responses in the face of CRSV. In December 2017, the Missing Peace Initiative convened a group of international expert scholars, policymakers, and military and civil society actors over the course of two days to address the fight against impunity for CRSV, its premises, promises, and contributions to peace and reconciliation, and also the challenges and potential of other responses aimed at reducing and preventing CRSV in the future.

This report synthesizes these discussions under two main headings that reflect recurring themes in the symposium’s panels and debates: first, the promises and perils of particular responses to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), and second, definitional dimensions of the continuum of violence that are important to take into account in any broad-spectrum approach to CRSV. These themes form part of a complex, nuanced, and ongoing cross-sectional conversation that contrasts the simplifying slogans and categorical claims often seen in public policy debates.