Yesterday, 19 June, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 regarding sexual violence in conflict. The resolution makes some important breakthroughs and goes further than prior resolutions (1325, 1612 and 1674) to protect women and girls in conflict situations.
Important parts of the resolution include the recognition that women and girls are particularly targeted during war, and sexual violence is used as a weapon to instil fear and humiliation. The resolution states that it has a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual violence perpetrated by UN Peacekepers and states that it is the responsibility for parties to armed conflict to protect the security of civilians and to train troops on the “categorical prohibition” of sexual violence. The resolution also notes the necessity of including women in post-conflict negotiations and conflict resolution in order to create durable peace, security and reconciliation.
However, issues of implementation exist within the resolution. For example, the resolution states:
Demands that all parties to armed conflict immediately take appropriate measures to protect civilians, including women and girls, from all forms of sexual violence, which could include, inter alia, enforcing appropriate military disciplinary measures and upholding the principle of command responsibility, training troops on the categorical prohibition of all forms of sexual violence against civilians…(Resolution 1820, OP 3).
However, in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo–where woman are being raped on a daily basis and rule of law does not exist—-it is not likely this resolution will be enforced. Therefore, the question remains: how will parties to armed conflict be punished for violating the resolution?
Aside issues of punishment for non-compliance, the resolution offers a means toward justice for women who have experienced sexual violence in periods of armed conflict.
Notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide, stresses the need for the exclusion of sexual violence crimes from amnesty provisions in the context of conflict resolution processes, and calls upon Member States to comply with their obligations for prosecuting persons responsible for such acts, to ensure that all victims of sexual violence, particularly women and girls, have equal protection under the law and equal access to justice, and stresses the importance of ending impunity for such acts as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking sustainable peace, justice, truth, and national reconciliation (Resolution 1820, OP 4).
This is a critcal element of Resolution 1820 and is pertinent to the post-conflict situation in Kosova. The issue of transitional justice and sexual violence committed against women has not been resolved. This resolution must be used to prevent war criminals who committed sexual violence from gaining amnesty. Furthermore, the ICTY must issue more than indictments against criminals who committed mass rape in order to restore justice and end impunity for sexual violence perpetrated against women during the war in 1999.
Posted By Nicole Slezak
Posted Jun 20th, 2007