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Women and girls have, since time immemorial, been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and sexual slavery, during armed conflict. Mass rape of women and girls was documented during the Second World War as well as in more recent conflicts in such diverse countries as the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.188 Sexual violence has traditionally been considered as the inevitable by-product of armed conflict and has been mischaracterized by military and political leaders as a private crime or the unfortunate behavior of renegade soldiers. The use of rape as a weapon of war, however, means that rape is not a private or incidental crime. Rape as a weapon of war serves a strategic function and acts as an integral tool for achieving military objectives.

Conflict-related rape is an act of violence that targets sexuality, but it is also a military and political tool. It functions to subjugate and humiliate both the women and men within the targeted community. Furthermore, rape is generally not committed in isolation and victims are often subjected to multiple human rights abuses, which serve to further traumatize the survivor. In conflicts in which civilians are the principal targets, sexual violence has become an even more deliberate and insidious weapon of war. In the former Yugoslavia, for example, rape and other grave abuses committed by Serb forces were with the intent to drive the non-Serb population from their homes and communities.

The ten-year internal armed conflict in Sierra Leone has been characterized by egregious human rights abuses against the civilian population, including the use of sexual violence to achieve military aims.189 From the testimonies in this report, it is clear that the rebels waged a war through attacking civilians. Sexual violence was therefore used as part of the rebels' military and political strategy, with victims often being used to bring messages to their enemies, including President Kabbah, ECOMOG, the SLA or the CDF. RUF rebels told an older woman whom they first raped and then subjected to amputation that: "There should be peace before the elections. Now you can go and vote. You have got to take a letter to Bo and those hands are the letters."190 The testimonies also reveal how the rebels sought complete domination over girls and women by doing whatever they wanted to, including breaking numerous cultural taboos, such as raping lactating mothers or elderly women.

Despite being commonplace during armed conflict, rape "remains the least condemned war crime," according to the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women.191 It is only in recent years that it has been exposed and condemned alongside other human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations. Sexual violence remains insufficiently reported, condemned, and prosecuted as war crimes or crimes against humanity. This differential treatment of sexual violence highlights the international community's willingness to tolerate sexual violence against women notwithstanding its obligations under international law.

International law has prohibited rape and other forms of sexual violence against women during armed conflict for over a century.192 Perpetrators can be held accountable for rape and other forms of sexual violence as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and as acts of genocide.193 International human rights law, which remains applicable in times of armed conflict, also prohibits sexual violence and sexual slavery.

International Humanitarian Law
International humanitarian law, also known as the laws of war, sets out protections for civilians, prisoners of war and other non-combatants during international and internal armed conflicts.194 The four Geneva Conventions195 and their two Additional Protocols196 implicitly and explicitly condemn rape and other forms of sexual violence as serious violations of humanitarian law in both international and internal conflicts. In international armed conflicts, such crimes are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and are considered war crimes. Violations involving direct attacks on civilians during internal armed conflicts are increasingly recognized as war crimes.

Under international humanitarian law, the civil war in Sierra Leone was an internal armed conflict.197 Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions applies to all parties in an internal armed conflict, including armed opposition groups. Through its prohibition of "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment," Common Article 3 implicitly condemns sexual violence.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in international armed conflicts provides a basis for defining the protections provided under Common Article 3. Article 27 on the treatment of protected persons states that "women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault."198 Article 147 specifies that "torture or inhuman treatment" and "willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health" are grave breaches of the conventions.199 According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), rape and other forms of sexual violence are considered to be grave breaches and even a single act of sexual violence can constitute a war crime.200

Article 4 of Protocol II, which governs internal armed conflicts and applied to the conflict in Sierra Leone, expressly forbids "violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment, such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment" and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape and enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault" as well as "slavery and the slave trade in all their forms."201 According to the ICRC Commentary, this provision "reaffirms and supplements Common Article 3 ... [because] it became clear that it was necessary to strengthen ... the protection of women ... who may also be the victims of rape, enforced prostitution or indecent assault."202

As the above language highlights, crimes of sexual violence under international humanitarian law have been mischaracterized as attacks against the honor of women or an outrage on personal dignity-as opposed to attacks on physical integrity. This mischaracterization diminishes the serious nature of the crime and contributes to the widespread misperception of rape as an attack on honor that is an "incidental" or "lesser" crime relative to crimes such as torture or enslavement.203 Whilst it is true that rape is an assault on human dignity, rape should primarily be viewed as a violent assault on bodily integrity as well as one that dishonors the perpetrator and not the victim.

Sexual Violence as a Crime against Humanity
Acts of sexual violence committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians in Sierra Leone can be classified as crimes against humanity and prosecuted as such. There is no single international treaty that provides an authoritative definition of crimes against humanity, but such crimes are generally considered to be serious and inhumane acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population, during peacetime or war, and that result from the persecution of a specific group.204

The charter establishing the Nuremberg tribunal after the Second World War did not specify rape under crimes against humanity or list gender as one of the grounds of persecution; the inclusion of rape could however be derived from the charter's general prohibition against "other inhumane acts."205 Resolving this ambiguity, rape (as well as torture) was included in the specific list of crimes constituting crimes against humanity in the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)206 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).207

The statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) expands on this by including gender as one of the grounds of persecution, as well as adding rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.208 This definition of gender-based crimes against humanity, which appropriately makes no reference to the outdated notion of "crimes against honor," has been taken up in the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (see below for a discussion of the Special Court).

Under the evolving case law on crimes against humanity, formal proof of policy, plan or design is no longer an essential element for the prosecution of crimes against humanity. Both the ICTY and the ICTR have found that the existence of a plan or policy is sufficient: the policy need not be formalized and may be deduced from the way in which the acts occur.209 The failure to take action to address widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population can also be considered sufficient to determine the requisite element of policy, plan or design. Both state and non-state actors can be held accountable for crimes against humanity.

An individual case of serious sexual violence can be prosecuted as a crime against humanity if the prosecution can make the link between the single violation and other violations of basic human rights or international humanitarian law that have been committed as a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population.210 Each enumerated type of act, such as murder, torture, or rape, does not need to be committed on a widespread or systematic basis-it is the attack that must be widespread or systematic.211

Human Rights Law
Sierra Leone is party to international human rights instruments that provide safeguards for women and girls at all times, including during armed conflict. These include protection from rape as torture and other mistreatment; slavery and forced prostitution; and discrimination based on sex. Armed opposition groups, particularly those in control of territory, have increasingly been under an obligation to respect international human rights standards.212

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)213 prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by officials or persons acting in an official capacity. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides for the right to freedom from torture, sexual exploitation and abuse as well as liberty and security of person.214 The 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone also prohibits "any form of torture or any punishment or other treatment which is inhuman or degrading."215

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture has recognized that rape can constitute torture: "[R]ape is a traumatic form of torture for the victim."216 The ICTY in the Furundzija case noted that "[i]n certain circumstances ... rape can amount to torture and has been found by international judicial bodies to constitute a violation of the norm prohibiting torture."217 The ICTR in the Akayesu case stated that "Like torture, rape is used for such purposes as intimidation, degradation, humiliation, discrimination, punishment, control or destruction of a person. Like torture, rape is a violation of personal dignity, and rape in fact constitutes torture when it is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."218

Sexual violence generally violates women's rights to be free from discrimination based on sex as provided for under the ICCPR.219 Under Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),220 the definition of discrimination is considered to include "gender-based violence precisely because gender-based violence has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the enjoyment by women of human rights" on a basis of equality with men.221 The CEDAW Committee enumerated a wide range of obligations for states related to ending sexual violence, including ensuring appropriate treatment for victims in the justice system, counseling and support services, and medical and psychological assistance to victims.222 In a 1993 resolution, the U.N. General Assembly declared that prohibiting gender discrimination includes eliminating gender-based violence and that states "should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women."223

The CRC also provides for freedom from discrimination on the basis of gender (Article 2), and the right to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24). Under Article 39, states shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social integration of a child victim of any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture of any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. The CRC also calls upon states to provide special protection and assistance to a child "temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment."224 A child's right to "such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor" is also guaranteed by the ICCPR.225

Under both the ICCPR and CEDAW, slavery and forced prostitution in times of armed conflict constitute a basic violation of the right to liberty and security of person.226 Furthermore, slavery, which is a jus cogens norm from which no derogation is permitted, is prohibited under Article 8 of the ICCPR, which also prohibits forced labor, and by the 1926 Slavery Convention.227 The right to freedom from slavery is also provided under the constitution of Sierra Leone.228

The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, to which Sierra Leone is a party, guarantees the "[e]limination of every discrimination against women ... and protection of the rights of the woman and the child"229 as well as the right to integrity of one's person, and the right to be free of "... [a]ll forms of exploitation and degradation ..., particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment."230

Gender Jurisprudence for Crimes of Sexual Violence
Despite the widespread practice of sexual violence during the Second World War, rape did not figure prominently in the prosecutions brought by the two major tribunals established after the war. Rape was not prosecuted at any of the Nuremberg trials notwithstanding the evidence of sexual violence presented. Rape charges were brought in a few cases before the International Military Tribunal in the Far East (the Tokyo Tribunal),231 and several accused were convicted of crimes including sexual violence. The Tokyo tribunal was responsible for bringing international attention to atrocities, including sexual violence, committed during the "Rape of Nanking." The Tokyo tribunal failed, however, to prosecute members of the Japanese government and military for the 200,000 "comfort women" forced into sexual slavery during the war.232

Widespread reports of sexual violence in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were instrumental in the U.N. Security Council decisions authorizing the establishment of the ICTY and the ICTR. As noted, the statutes of both the ICTY and ICTR make explicit mention of rape as a crime against humanity.233 The ICTY also has implicit jurisdiction to prosecute crimes of sexual violence as grave breaches of international humanitarian law, as violations of the laws and customs of war and genocide.234 The ICTR is explicitly empowered to prosecute rape as a serious violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and can prosecute crimes of sexual violence when they constitute torture or genocide.235

Both tribunals have played a critical role in setting precedents in the prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence, including articulating definitions and elements of many gender-related crimes.236 As noted at this report's opening (see "Definition of Sexual Violence, Rape and Sexual Slavery," p. 2), both the ICTR (in the 1998 Akayesu judgment) and the ICTY (in the 2002 Foca judgment) defined rape, of which there is no commonly accepted definition in international law, albeit the definition from the Akayesu judgment has been criticized as too broad. The Akayesu judgment also provided a legal definition of sexual violence: any act of a sexual nature, including rape, committed on a person under coercive circumstances, but which need not include a physical invasion of the body or even contact.237 The ICTY has found that sexual violence not only constitutes crimes against humanity, war crimes and grave breaches, but can also constitute torture, enslavement, serious bodily injury and other relevant acts as long as the elements constituting these crimes are present in the act of sexual violence.

In general, however, both tribunals have had an inconsistent record on investigating and prosecuting crimes of sexual violence. The ICTR continues to lack a comprehensive approach to the inclusion of sexual violence charges and has failed to include these charges or seek amendments in the original indictments where the Office of the Prosecutor has witness testimony or evidence of sexual violence.238

Command Responsibility239
The culpability of superior officers for atrocities that their subordinates commit is commonly known as command responsibility. Although the concept originated in military law, it now also embraces the responsibility of civil authorities for the abuses committed by persons under their direct authority.240  

Commanders of armed rebel groups, such as in Sierra Leone, are subject to command responsibility. While Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Protocol II on internal armed conflicts do not explicitly mention command responsibility, the application of Protocol II depends on there being organized armed groups "under responsible command."241 Command responsibility is now part of customary international law, that is, a universally recognized precept of international criminal law.  It is also an explicit feature of many treaties, including the statutes of the ICC, the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (see below, p. 63).

There are two forms of command responsibility. The first is direct responsibility for orders that are unlawful. When an official authorizes or orders rapes, massacres, or other grave abuses, that individual is criminally responsible for these acts, whether the superior who initiated or conveyed the order also carries out the atrocity or has subordinates perform it. The other form of command responsibility is an imputed responsibility for the crimes of subordinates where those crimes are not based on direct orders. In this case, responsibility is determined on the basis of whether the superior knew or should have known of the abuses committed by subordinates.

Knowledge of the abuses may be actual, either by the army officer or rebel commander witnessing the crimes or being informed of them shortly thereafter.  It may also be constructive, where the abuses were so numerous or notorious that a reasonable person could come to no other conclusion than that the superior must have known of their commission or of the existence of an understood and acknowledged routine for their commission. Another basis of constructive notice is that the officer should have known of the offenses, but displayed such serious personal dereliction as to constitute willful and wanton disregard of the possible consequences, which is an extreme form of negligence. The failure of the commander to take appropriate measures to control the subordinates under his or her command and prevent atrocities, and the failure to punish offenders, are further elements in showing command responsibility.  

An individual found to have command responsibility for the crime committed by a subordinate is deemed culpable to the same degree as the subordinate. A commander will therefore be found guilty of murder if he or she stood by while the subordinate committed murder.  

With regard to the crime of rape, some courts have been reluctant to impute command responsibility for what is seen as random and a private crime.242 However, the requirements of command responsibility do not vary according to the particular crime; the commander is no more permitted to stand by while rape is committed than to stand by while murder is. If a superior had reason to know that subordinates under his or her command committed rape (such as news reports, or widespread commission of this abuse), and failed to use all feasible means under his or her command to prevent and punish this abuse, he or she may also be found guilty of rape.  

187 Some of the information in this section was published previously in Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project, The Global Report on Women's Human Rights (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1995); and Dorothy Q. Thomas and Regan E. Ralph, "Rape in War: Challenging The Tradition of Impunity," SAIS Review (Washington D.C.: John Hopkins University Press, Winter-Spring 1994).

188 See for example Human Rights Watch, War Crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina: U.N. Cease-Fire Won't Help Banja Luka Volume 6, Issue 8, June 1994,; Human Rights Watch, Bosnia-Hercegovina: The Fall of Srebrenica and the Failure of U.N. Peacekeeping, Vol. 7, No. 13, October 1995,; Human Rights Watch, Bosnia and Hercegovina, A Closed, Dark Place: Past and Present Human Rights Abuses in Foca, Vol. 10, No. 6 (D), July 1998,; Human Rights Watch/Africa, Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme, Human Rights Watch, Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath, September 1996,; Human Rights Watch, The War Within the War: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo, June 2002,; Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo, War Crimes in Kisangani: The Response of Rwandan-backed Rebels to the May 2002 Mutiny, Vol. 14, No 6 (A), August 2002,; United Nations, Preliminary report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/45, E/CN.4/1995/42 (United Nations, 1994), p. 64.

189 United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/49, Addendum, Mission to Sierra Leone, E/CN.4/2002/83/Add.2 (United Nations, 2002).

190 Human Rights Watch interview, Bo, March 2, 2000.

191 United Nations, Preliminary report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, E/CN.4/1995/42, p. 64.

192 Some examples of how the law prohibiting war-related rape developed include the Italian lawyer Lucas de Penna advocating in the thirteenth century for the punishment of wartime rape just as severely as rape committed in peacetime, and Hugo Grotius stating in the sixteenth century that sexual violence committed in wartime was a punishable crime. Articles 44 and 47 of the 1863 Lieber Code, which served as the basis for subsequent war codes, also lists rape by a belligerent as a war crime punishable by death. See the Lieber Code of 1863, Correspondence, Orders, Reports, and Returns of the Union Authorities, From January 1 to December 31, 1863.--#7, O.R.--Series III-Volume III [S# 124], General Orders No. 100., War Dept., Adjt. General's Office, Washington, April 24, 1863. Article 4 of the Hague Convention (1907) provides a general prohibition of torture and abuses against combatants and non-combatants. Article 46 of the same convention prescribes that "[f]amily honour and rights...must be respected," which can be interpreted to cover rape. See Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, with annexed Regulations (Hague Convention IV) of October 18, 1907, 36 Stat. 2277, T.S. No. 539 (entered into force January 26, 1910). Kelly D. Askin and Dorean M. Koenig (eds.), Women and International Human Rights Law (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, Inc., 1999), Volume 1, p. 50. See also Kelly D. Askin, War Crimes Against Women: Prosecution in International War Crimes Tribunals (Dordrecht: Kluwer Law International, 1997), pp. 18-36.

193 Although genocide did not occur in Sierra Leone, rape and other forms of sexual violence can be defined as constituent elements of genocide. Genocide is defined under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as "acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group." Genocide has attained jus cogens status (a norm that preempts other norms) and is prohibited both in its own right and as a crime against humanity.

194 See the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two 1977 Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions. Other sources of international humanitarian law are the 1907 Hague Convention and Regulations, decisions of international tribunals and customary law.

195 Sierra Leone became a party to the four Geneva Conventions on June 10, 1965.

196 Sierra Leone ratified the Additional Protocols on October 21, 1986.

197 The fighting in 1997-98 between West African ECOWAS forces and the RUF/AFRC government may have met the criteria for an international armed conflict.

198 Geneva Convention IV, Article 27 (2). Article 76 of Protocol I extends this protection of protected persons to all women. Protocol I, Article 76.

199 Geneva Convention IV, Article 147.

200 Theodor Meron, "Rape as a Crime Under International Humanitarian Law," American Journal of International Law (Washington D.C.: American Society of International Law, 1993), vol. 87, p. 426, citing the International Committee of the Red Cross, Aide Mémoire, December 3, 1992.

201 Protocol II, Article 4 (2) (a), (e) and (f).

202 Yves Sandoz, Christophe Swinarski, Bruno Zimmerman (eds.), ICRC Commentary on the Additional Protocols of June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Geneva: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987), p. 1375, para. 4539.

203 See Catherine N. Niarchos, "Women, War and Rape: Challenges facing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia," Human Rights Quarterly (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1995), vol. 17, pp. 672, 674.

204 See, e.g. "Report of the Secretary-General Pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Security Council Resolution 808," 32 I.L.M. at 1159 (1993), para. 48.

205 The Nuremberg Charter, as amended by the Berlin Protocol, 59 Stat. 1546, 1547 (1945), E.A.S. NO. 472, 82 U.N.T.S. 284. Under article 6(c) of the Nuremberg Charter, crimes against humanity included, but were not limited to the following atrocities: "[m]urder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds."

206 Article 5 of the Statute of the ICTY names rape as a crime against humanity. See Statute of the ICTY (adopted 25/5/93) at

207 Article 3 of the Statute of the ICTR names rape as a crime against humanity. See Statute of the ICTR (adopted 8/11/94) at

208 Article 7 of the Statute of the ICC enumerates crimes against humanity as "any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder; (b) Extermination; (c) Enslavement; (d) Deportation; (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture; (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; (i) Enforced disappearance of persons; (j) The crime of apartheid; (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health." Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, opened for signature July 17, 1998, Article 7, reprinted in 37 I.L.M. 999 (1998). Sierra Leone signed and ratified the Rome Statute on October 17, 1998 and September 15, 2000 respectively.

209 Kunarac Trial Chamber Judgement, para. 432.

210 "It is sufficient to show that the act took place in the context of an accumulation of acts of violence which, individually, may vary greatly in nature and gravity." Kunarac Trial Chamber Judgement, para. 419.

211 Prosecutor v. Kupre_kic, Judgement, IT-95-16-T, 14 January 2000 (Kupre_kic Trial Chamber Judgement), para. 550.

212 Nigel S. Rodley, "Can Armed Opposition Groups Violate Human Rights?" in P. Mahoney and K. Mahoney (eds.) Human Rights in the 21st Century: A Global Challenge (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1993), pp. 297-318, and International Council on Human Rights Policy, "Hard Cases: Bringing Human Rights Violators to Justice Abroad-A Guide to Universal Jurisdiction," (Geneva: International Council on Human Rights Policy, 1999), p. 6.

213 Sierra Leone ratified the CAT on March 1, 2001.

214 Sierra Leone ratified the CRC on June 18, 1990. Article 34 protects the child from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Article 37 provides for the freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as liberty and security of person.

215 Constitution of Sierra Leone (1991), Chapter III - The Recognition and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, s. 20(1).

216 United Nations, Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant to the Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1992/32, E/CN.4/1995/34, Paragraph 19, January 12, 1995.

217 Prosecutor v. Anto Furundžija, Judgement, IT-95-17/1-T, December 10, 1998, para. 171.

218 Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, Judgement, ICTR-96-4-T, September 2, 1998 (the Akayesu Trial Chamber Judgement), para. 687.

219 See ICCPR, Articles 2 (1) and 26.

220 Sierra Leone ratified this treaty on November 11, 1988.

221 Women, Law and Development International, Gender Violence: The Hidden War Crimes (Washington D.C.: Women, Law and Development International, 1998), p. 37.

222 Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, "Violence Against Women," General Recommendation no. 19 (eleventh session, 1992), U.N. Document CEDAW/C/1992/L.1/Add.15.

223 United Nations General Assembly, "Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women," A/RES/48/104, December 20, 1993 (issued on February 23, 1994). See Article 4, in particular.

224 Article 20 (1) of the CRC.

225 Although the masculine pronoun is used, the ICCPR is applicable without any discrimination to sex as stated in Article 24 (1).

226 Article 9 of the ICCPR provides for the freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, whilst Article 23 prohibits forced marriage. Under Article 6 of CEDAW, states are required to take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

227 Slavery Convention, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 212, p. 17., July 7, 1955.

228 Constitution of Sierra Leone (1991), Chapter III - The Recognition and Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, s. 19 (1).

229 Article 3 of the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, adopted June 27, 1981, Organization of African Unity Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58, 1982. Sierra Leone signed and ratified this treaty on August 27, 1981 and September 21, 1993 respectively.

230 Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

231 The Indictment for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) included rape within the crimes charged generally. IMTFE Indictment, p. 31, reproduced in the IMTFE Docs., vol., 20, Annex A-6; See also Appendix D, attached to the Indictment, which provides more detail on the charges. The Indictment stated that the accused were responsible for "mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture, and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the overrun countries." Appendix D alleged responsibility for "inhumane treatment" and "mistreatment" when "civilian internees were murdered, beaten, tortured, and otherwise ill-treated, and female prisoners were raped by members of the Japanese forces" and "female nurses were raped, murdered and ill-treated," and "large numbers of the inhabitants" were also murdered, tortured, raped, and otherwise mistreated.

232 See the Appendix entitled "An Analysis of the Legal Liability of the Government of Japan for "Comfort Women Stations" Established During the Second World War" to the United Nations, Contemporary Forms of Slavery: Systematic Rape, Sexual Slavery and Slavery-like Practices during Armed Conflict, pp. 38-55.

233 Article 5 of the Statute of the ICTY names rape as a crime against humanity. See Statute of the ICTY (adopted 25/5/93) at Article 3 of the Statute of the ICTR names rape as a crime against humanity. See Statute of the ICTR (adopted 8/11/94) at

234 Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Statute of the ICTY respectively.

235 Articles 4, Article 3 (f) and Article 2 respectively of the ICTR Statute.

236 Akayesu Trial Chamber Judgment; Prosecutor v. Tadic; Prosecutor v. Delalic, et al., IT-96-21-A, November 16, 1998; Prosecutor v. Anto Furundžija, Judgment, December 10, 1998; Prosecutor v. Blaskic, IT-95-14, Judgement, March 3, 2000; Prosecutor v. Kvocka et al., Judgement, IT-98-30-T, November 2, 2001. Prosecutor v. Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic (Foca case), Appeals Chamber Judgement, June 12, 2002, IT-96-23 and IT-96-23/1.

237 Akayesu Trial Chamber Judgement, para. 688. The ICTR stated: "The Tribunal defines rape as a physical invasion of a sexual nature, committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive. The Tribunal considers sexual violence, which includes rape, as any act of a sexual nature which is committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive. Sexual violence is not limited to physical invasion of the human body and may include acts which do not involve penetration or even physical contact. The incident described by Witness KK in which the Accused ordered the Interahamwe [Hutu militia] to undress a student and force her to do gymnastics naked in the public courtyard of the bureau communal, in front of a crowd, constitutes sexual violence. The Tribunal notes in this context that coercive circumstances need not be evidenced by a show of physical force. Threats, intimidation, extortion and other forms of duress which prey on fear or desperation may constitute coercion, and coercion may be inherent in certain circumstances, such as armed conflict or the military presence of Interahamwe among refugee Tutsi women at the bureau communal."

238 See Human Rights Watch press release "Bosnia: Landmark Verdicts for Rape, Torture, and Sexual Enslavement," February 22, 2001, at These facts were reconfirmed from a reliable source from the ICTR, Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, November 8, 2002.

239 The legal analysis in this section was previously published in Human Rights Watch, Milosevic and the Chain of Command in Kosovo, July 7, 2001,

240 Geoffrey Robertson, Crimes against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1999), p. 206-7.

241 Article 1 (1), Protocol II.

242 See generally Patricia Viseur Sellers and Kaoru Okuizumi, "Prosecuting International Crimes: An Inside View: Intentional Prosecution of Sexual Assaults," Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems Volume 7, Number 1 (Spring 1997), p. 45.

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