Systematic sexual and gender-based violence are increasingly recognised as defining characteristics of contemporary armed conflict. A range of international measures has been adopted in response to sexual violence committed against women in post-conflict settings. In particular, throughout the 1990s the international gender justice movement sought to extend opportunities to address sexual violence against women through international criminal law, and in particular the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC drew critical lessons on investigating and prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence crimes from earlier UN ad hoc tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The ICTY has been at the forefront of advancing international criminal law with respect to the prosecution of those accused of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence during conflict. As the work of the ICTY draws to a close, Michelle Jarvis and Baron Serge Brammertz, leading prosecutors at the Tribunal, have considered the legacy and lessons of their experience, and produced the book Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (OUP, 2016).
Inspired by the development of this critical jurisprudence on gender based violence crimes, the Australian Human Rights Centre at UNSW Australia is hosting a workshop and lunch-time book launch on ‘Prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence crimes at international courts and tribunals: recent advances and ongoing challenges’.
Workshop (9.30am - 1pm)
The morning workshop session will feature panels of current and former prosecutors from the ICTY, academics and practitioners who will reflect on challenges, experiences and lessons learned from international, regional and hybrid tribunals, highlighting the potential and limitations of the legal framework in responding to sexual and gender-based violence crimes.
Book Launch (1pm - 2pm)
Join us for a lunch-time launch of the newly released book Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (OUP 2016) with co-editor Michelle Jarvis, Principal Legal Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Although sexual violence directed at both females and males is a reality in many on-going conflicts throughout the world today, accountability for the perpetrators of such violence remains the exception rather than the rule. While awareness of the problem is growing, more effective approaches are urgently needed for the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence crimes. Upon its establishment in 1993, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) began the challenging task of prosecuting the perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence crimes, alongside the many other atrocities committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.
This book documents the experiences, achievements, challenges, and fundamental insights of the OTP in prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes at the ICTY over the past two decades. It draws on an extensive dossier of OTP documentation, court filings, trial exhibits, testimony, ICTY judgements, and other materials, as well as interviews with current and former OTP staff members. The authors provide a unique analytical perspective on the obstacles faced in prioritizing, investigating, and prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes. While ICTY has made great strides in developing international criminal law in this area, this volume exposes the pressing need for determined and increasingly sophisticated strategies in order to overcome the ongoing obstacles in prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence crimes. The book presents concrete recommendations to inform future work being done at the national and international levels, including that of the International Criminal Court, international investigation commissions, and countries developing transitional justice processes. It provides an essential resource for investigators and criminal lawyers, human rights fact-finders, policy makers, rule of law experts, and academics.
Michelle Jarvis is an Australian lawyer with extensive international experience and a diverse career covering litigation, rule of law, women’s access to justice and senior management roles. She has worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for over fifteen years and is presently the Deputy to the Prosecutor. In this role, Michelle has oversight of legal issues across the Office of the Prosecutor for the ICTY and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT). Before moving to the ICTY, Michelle worked in a variety of roles in Australia and internationally, including as a consultant for the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women and as a solicitor for a community legal service focusing on women’s legal justice issues in Australia. Michelle is currently the Coordinator of the Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (PSV) Network of the International Association of Prosecutors and she is a trainer for the Justice Rapid Response Sexual and Gender Based Violence Investigations certification process.
This Workshop is linked to the Australian Research Council Discovery Project: DP 140102274. For more information on this research, please visit: http://www.ahrcentre.org/topics/transformative-reparations-combat-sexual-violence-against-women-post-conflict-settings