Theses Master's

Rethinking Gendered Violence as Genocidal Violence: Examining the Nexus of Sexual Violence and Genocide in International Criminal Law

Shetty, Aditi

One of the most significant social, political, and legal developments in contemporary international human rights has been the recognition of the specific gendered impacts of war and armed conflict. The convergence of transnational feminist advocacy with the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s gave rise to a legal regime that shaped the ways in which women and their experiences of war could be understood as a matter of international security. Against the historic neglect of women’s rights in the international human rights regime, the recognition of sexual violence in conflict has emerged at the dominant frame through which international politics perceives and understands women’s specific experiences of conflict.

In this context, conflict-related sexual violence has come to be seen as a hallmark indicator specifically of genocide, which itself is a deeply contested frame for political violence. In this project, I examine the embeddedness of gendered violence within the frame of genocide and how this elides the more nuanced realities of gender and conflict in ways that undermine the broader normative goals of international criminal law. I trace the development of sexual violence as an international crime, focusing on the Akayesu and Kunarac cases at the ICTR and ICTY respectively. I then turn to the ICC developments on the Darfur conflict to develop an analysis about what the concept of genocidal rape enables and forecloses in international politics and human rights.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Cronin, Bruce L.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 10, 2022