Annex: Definition of Terms

Discrimination Against Women: Article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Domestic Violence: Also called “intimate partner abuse,” “battering,” or “wife-beating,” domestic violence refers to physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse that takes place in the context of an intimate relationship, including marriage. Domestic violence is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence and is often characterized by long-term patterns of abusive behavior and control.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV): Gender-based violence is defined as violence directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion, and other deprivations of liberty. Examples of gender-based violence are sexual violence, domestic violence, emotional and psychological abuse, trafficking, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and harmful traditional practices (e.g. female genital mutilation, forced marriage, or widow cleansing).

Rape: Rape is defined according to the appeals chamber judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the 2002 Foca case, namely “[t]he sexual penetration, however slight: (a) of the vagina or anus of the victim by the penis of the perpetrator or any other object used by the perpetrator; or (b) [of] the mouth of the victim by the penis of the perpetrator; where such sexual penetration occurs without the consent of the victim. Consent for this purpose must be consent given voluntarily, as a result of the victim’s free will, assessed in the context of the surrounding circumstances. The mens rea is the intention to effect this sexual penetration, and the knowledge that it occurs without the consent of the victim.”286 The appeals chamber rejected the “resistance” requirement argued by the appellants as it is justified neither in law or fact, and stated that the use of force in itself is not a necessary element of rape. Coercive circumstances make the victims’ consent to the sexual acts impossible. This definition also underscores that rape is an attack on the physical integrity of a woman and not an attack against her honor or that of her family or community. 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.

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation is any abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.287 For example, sexual exploitation can occur when adults have sexual relations with children in exchange for money, food, or any other commodity. Prostitution between adults is not prohibited under international law but sexual exploitation of minorsi.e. anyone under the age of eighteen—is prohibited under international law.

Sexual Slavery: Sexual slavery, defined by the 1926 Slavery Convention and the 1953 Protocol amending the same convention, refers to “[t]he status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, including sexual access through rape or other forms of sexual violence.”288 The Statute of the ICC includes the trafficking of women and children in its definition of enslavement.289

Sexual Violence: In this report, sexual violence is used as an overarching term to describe “[a]ny violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality.”290 Sexual violence includes (1) sexual slavery, (2) rape by someone of the opposite sex, (3) rape by someone of the same sex, (4) forcible introduction of objects into the rectum/vagina, (5) gang rape, (6) attempted rape, (7) forced performance of sexual acts other than rape such as forcing a person to strip naked in public, (8) forcing two victims to perform sexual acts on one another or harm one another in a sexual manner, (9) assaulting or mutilating a person’s genitals or a woman’s breasts, (10) body searching by members of the opposite sex, and (11) beating a pregnant woman on her stomach.

286 Prosecutor v. Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic (Foca case), ICTY, Case No. IT-96-23 and IT-96-23/1, Judgment (Appeals Chamber), June 12, 2002, paras. 127-133. Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, (Judgment), ICTR-96-4-T, September 2, 1998, para. 688.

287 United Nations Secretariat, Secretary-General’s Bulletin: Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, ST/SGB/2003/13, October 9, 2003, (accessed June 28, 2007).

288 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, p. 9.

289 Article 7 (1) (g) lists enslavement as a crime against humanity with the definition given in Article 7 (2) (c). Rome Statute, art. 7. The ICC has the authority to prosecute the most serious international crimes beginning from July 1, 2002.

290 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, pp. 7-8.