Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rape as genocide

'In this society if you rape one woman, you have raped the entire tribe" - so said one observer of the mass rape occurring in Darfur.

People hear the word genocide and think of six million victims of the Holocaust or an estimated 800,000 dead in Rwanda. They do not imagine that mass rape can be so well planned and targeted that it wipes out a substantial part of an ethnic group as thoroughly, though more slowly, than widespread killings. Yet three judges sitting on the International Criminal Court will decide soon whether to confirm an arrest warrant against a head of state, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, on grounds that he masterminded rape as genocide against three ethnic groups in Darfur that have challenged his power.

The ICC's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has filed war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against Bashir. But the centerpiece of Moreno-Ocampo's application is the charge of rape as genocide "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" and "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." Such acts of genocide arising from rape rather than from murder can be prosecuted as stand-alone crimes before the International Criminal Court. Read more >>>>>>>>

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