International Instruments addressing specific forms of violence against women
Two international instruments address specific forms of violence against women:
- The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) requires states to name trafficking as a criminal offence, and to offer a broad range of services to victims, including housing, counseling, medical assistance, educational opportunities, and reparations. It also requires states to take measures to alleviate the vulnerability of people, especially women and children, to trafficking and to strengthen measures to reduce the demand which leads to trafficking.
- The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002) established the International Criminal Court (ICC) to deal with the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Its preamble declares that is the duty of every state to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes. In Article 7(g), the Rome Statute identifies rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity as crimes against humanity when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. The acts are classified as war crimes under Article 8.
The Rome Statute allows victims to testify (Article 69) and to participate in the proceedings (Article 68(3), and requires the ICC to protect their safety, well-being, interests and privacy (Article 68(1). In so doing, the ICC must have regard for factors such as gender and the nature of the crime, particularly where the crime involves sexual or gender violence or violence against children. (Article 68(1)) The Prosecutor is also required to take appropriate measures to protect victims and witnesses during the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. (Article 68(1)) Article 68(2) provides for measures to facilitate the testimony of victims of sexual violence, such as presentation of evidence by electronic means. Finally, the ICC is to be staffed with people who are knowledgeable about gender-based violence. (Article 43(6))
See: 2011 Gender Report Card on the International Criminal Court, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, 2012; 2010 Gender Report Card on the International Criminal Court, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, 2011.