Fall 2009 Course Schedule

Women & Conflict` (LAW-978-001)

Meets: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM (T) - Room 627

Enrolled: 10 / Limit: 14

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Crimes committed disproportionately or exclusively against women and girls in times of conflict have traditionally been largely ignored, or at most, treated as secondary to other crimes. However, in the past decade, and particularly since 1998, there has been an incredible transformation in the treatment of sex-based and gender-based violence in the fields of international humanitarian law and international criminal law.

This course, designed to be a two-credit research seminar, aims to provide an overview and evaluation of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law relating to women and conflict. Specifically, the course will explore how women in times of conflict are treated under the various categories of the laws of war, such as civilians, combatants, detainees, refugees and internally displaced persons, but also question whether these laws are sufficient to encompass the considerable variety of ways women are affected by conflict. In particular, the course will examine feminist critiques of IHL and consider the links between conflict and issues such as women’s inequality and inequitable economic and social conditions, and query whether these conditions lead to new and different types of discrimination against women in times of conflict. The course will also look at the developing jurisprudence dealing specifically with gendered violence from the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and the “hybrid” or internationalized courts, as well as the provisions specifically relating to women in the Rome Statute and the practice of the International Criminal Court in implementing these provisions. We will also examine from a critical feminist perspective, the consequences, both intended and unintended, of the prosecution of sex-based and gender-based by these courts and tribunals.

Textbooks and Other Materials

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First Class Readings

Week 1

Introductions, Course Organization and Requirements

The Impact of Conflict on Women

Required readings:

  • Syllabus
  • Charlotte Lindsey, The Impact of Armed Conflict on Women, in Listening to the Silences: Women and War (Helen Durham and Tracey Gurd, eds., 2005).
  • Judith Gardam and Michelle Jarvis, Women, Armed Conflict and International Law, Ch. 2 (2001).
  • Radhika Coomaraswamy, Women and Armed Conflict, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, (1998) UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/54, paras.1-114.
  • Syllabus

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