Laws and Investigative Measures For Wartime Rape
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At the opening ceremony of the Global summit to stop sexual violence in war, it was concluded that the international community should act together and allow justice for victims.
United Nations Special representative for sexual violence in conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura said that sexual violence in war is one of the “biggest cover-up stories in the world” and it was time to remove the stigma from the victims.
“Thousands of women, men and children who were raped can no longer be thought of as second-rate victims of a second-rate crime,” said Bangura.
A new protocol on basic standards of best practices on the documentation of sexual violence as a crime under international law was presented.
Chief prosecutor of the Hague tribunal Serge Brammertz said that the protocol contains many of the lessons and best practices learned in the investigation of sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The protocol is important for all of us. From the aspect of international prosecutors it is important to ensure professional investigations. But there are also practices for advocacy, which is also vital,” said Brammertz.
Prosecutor at the International court in Sierra Leone Brenda Hollis said that the protocol will allow organizations to collect evidence and improve their work, which will raise awareness about wartime sexual violence.
“The protocol maximizes the quality of information and gives guidance to people on the field,” said Hollis.
Along with new investigation methods, the summit heard about the need for local courts and prosecutions in countries to improve their work on wartime sexual violence.
President of the Hague tribunal Theodor Meron said that all countries should adopt new criminal codes which would include the new standards of international law.
“The International courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have done an important job and now rape is recognised as a crime against humanity. However, international courts cannot solve all the cases. This is why domestic prosecutions and courts must take up a much bigger burden,” said Meron.
The summit against wartime sexual violence, which was initiated by foreign minister of Great Britain William Hague, is taking place in London between June 10 and 13. On Thursday, ministers of foreign affairs and delegates of over 100 states will attend the summit, and will hear the conclusions of the experts.