A lot has been moving when it comes to the prosecution of gendered crimes in the international courts. Last December, during the 2022 Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court, Prosecutor Karim Khan announced the new Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution. On that occasion, we decided it was time to dig deeper into gender crimes, starting from the ABC.
So we asked two absolute experts to the podcast, Valerie Oosterveld, Professor focused on gender issues in international criminal law at Canada’s Western Law University, and Kim-Thuy Seelinger, Professor at the Brown School at the Washington University in St Louis and Special Adviser on Sexual Violence in Conflict to the ICC Prosecutor. We kicked off the conversation by asking what Conflict-Related Sexual Violence actually is and how its prosecution differs domestically and internationally.
We also discuss how the understanding of gendered crimes has changed over time and how much there is still to do, why we need these new categories of crimes in international law, and how important they are for the self-identification of victims. Kim and Valerie shed light on what a survivor-centred approach can really look like in investigations. And we touch upon why soldiers keep committing these crimes and what impact all the attention to sexual violence in Ukraine can have on its prosecution.
Lots of useful resources discussed:
- Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution of the ICC
- The Murad Code on how to respectfully gather information from victims of sexual violence in conflicts
- The Dart Center Europe’s guide to Covering Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
- Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice’s campaign Let’s Call It What It Is
- The Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation works with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in their Sema network
- The trial of former Chad dictator Hissène Habré, the topic of the episode with Reed Brody, who caught and prosecuted him, and our first-ever episode with Celeste Hicks.
And together with Kim and Valerie, we will be looking forward to the new ICC Policy Paper for Crimes Affecting Children and Kim’s review and assessment of the implementation of the 2014 sexual and gender-based crimes Policy Paper.
But our suggestions are not over. Kim fills what little free time she has with US political podcasts and the Mexican series La Casa de las Flores, which helps her improve her Spanish. Valerie instead takes her mind off work by watching series with her youngest daughter and they recently devoured the sixth season of the Canadian series Schitt’s Creek.