Responses of International Law to Conflict-Based Sexual and Gender Violence (LAW-978-001)
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Sexual and gender-based crimes committed in times of conflict or repression traditionally have been ignored, or at most, treated as secondary to other crimes. However, the past two decades have seen a number of significant developments in the treatment of sexual and gender-based violence at the international level. This course aims to provide an overview and evaluation of the responses of international law to the experience of victims and survivors of such violence. The course will examine feminist critiques of international humanitarian law and consider the links between conflict and issues such as women’s inequality and inequitable economic and social conditions. Specifically, the course will explore how survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in times of conflict are treated under the various categories of the laws of war, such as civilians, combatants, detainees and POWs, but also question whether these laws are sufficient to encompass the variety of ways survivors of such violence are affected by conflict. The course will also look at the developing jurisprudence dealing specifically with accountability for sexual and gender-based 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 such violence in the Rome Statute and the practice of the International Criminal Court in implementing these provisions. The course will end with a critical evaluation of the consequences, both intended and unintended, of the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence by these courts and tribunals and of feminist interventions in international law more generally. Students will be expected to write a research paper on a topic related to the issues discussed in class and to lead a class discussion about their research. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their: participation in class discussion (including preparing short reflection memoranda); leading a class discussion on their paper topic; and writing a final 20-25 page paper. With permission, students can fulfill the upper level writing requirement by writing a 30-page paper.
Textbooks and Other Materials
First Class Readings
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