Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 2, No 2 (2012)

Delivering Justice for Sexual Violence in the D.R. Congo and Beyond: Cooperation, Education, and Capacity-Building through National and International Courts

Amanda Claire Grayson

Abstract


The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been called "the worst place in the world to be a woman". With mass rape and systematic sexual violence becoming an increasingly prevalent weapon of warfare, the international community has created special international criminal tribunals and courts to address crimes as such: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and even genocide. This paper aims to trace the developments in international criminal law and procedure for the prosecution of sexual violence from Nuremberg and Tokyo to Kigali and The Hague while also identifying shortcomings and potential reforms. As the International Criminal Court hears landmark evidence and testimony on charges of rape in the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba, local and national courts in the Congo still fail to deliver the more "nationalized" justice that rape victims seek and prefer. This paper, using sexual violence and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a case study, highlights the often underestimated importance of strengthening local and national judiciaries through legal and judicial reform as well as the critical role that international courts must play in sharing information, expertise, and prosecution strategies, especially on cases of sexual violence.

Keywords


Capacity-Building; International Tribunals; National Courts; Sexual Violence; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Judicial Reform

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