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Gender and the ICC
Gender and the ICC
Silvana Arbia, Registrar of the ICC, and Kristin Kalla, Senior Programme Officer of the Trust Fund for Victims, with Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice Executive Director Brigid Inder at the Launch of the Gender Report Card 2009. Credit: Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
The Rome Statute is the first international treaty to identify crimes against women as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and in some instances, genocide. Non-governmental organizations—including members of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court —were at the forefront of ensuring that the Rome Statute thoroughly safeguarded women’s rights.

The Statute recognizes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilizations, gender-based persecutions, trafficking of persons particularly of women and children, and sexual violence as crimes under its jurisdiction.

Here are some of the provisions included in the Statute:


Procedural Protections for Victims and Witnesses

Women victims and witnesses before the ICC can expect procedures designed to address their needs. The ICC Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Rules) offer important protections for victims and witnesses, particularly those who suffered sexual or gender violence.

  • The Court is required to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity, and privacy of victims and witnesses, with special regard to factors such as their gender and whether the crime involved sexual or gender violence.

  • The Statute and Rules also establish a Victims and Witnesses Unit to provide protection, security, counseling, and other assistance.

  • The Court can institute measures to protect victims and witnesses during trials and pre-trial proceedings.

  • The Court is also required to be vigilant in controlling the questioning of witnesses to avoid harassment or intimidation, especially in sexual violence cases.



  • Rules of Evidence to Protect Victims of Sexual Violence

    The Rules are designed to shield victims of sexual violence from damaging or intrusive attacks on their sexuality or credibility.
  • The Court cannot admit evidence of a victim or witness's prior or subsequent sexual conduct or require corroboration of testimony concerning sexual violence.

  • The Rules outline principles to guide the Court in handling sexual violence cases, making clear that a victim's consent cannot be inferred where the perpetrator took advantage of a coercive environment (such as a detention center), and requiring special procedures for presenting evidence of consent to acts of sexual violence.



  • Staff Expertise on Gender and Sexual Violence

  • The Statute requires that the ICC prosecutor appoint advisers with legal expertise on sexual and gender violence and that the Victims and Witnesses Unit, to be housed within the ICC registry, include staff with experience in trauma related to sex crimes.

  • The Statute also requires states, in electing judges, to take into account the need for "fair representation" of female and male judges, and requires that the prosecutor and registrar do the same when hiring staff.



  • Victims’ Participation in the Proceedings

    The ICC Statute and Rules facilitate victims' direct participation in the Court's proceedings. Victims can express their views, in accordance with the Statute and the Rules, giving them a chance to tell their stories even if they are not called as witnesses. This will allow individual women's voices, sometimes overlooked in international prosecutions, to emerge.


    Useful links

    UN Women Facebook page

    International Women’s Day website and Facebook page


    For more information on this issue, please contact Alix Vuillemin Grendel.
    NGO Media Statements
    Authorascending Date and Title
    AAPSO
    11 Mar 2008
    International Women’s Day
    ACDJ
    06 Mar 2008
    A l'attention de toutes les femmes Camerounaises
    AFJCI
    14 May 2007
    DECLARATION DE L’ASSOCIATION DES FEMMES JURISTES DE COTE D’IVOIRE SUR LES VIOLENCES FAITES AUX FEMMES ET AUX FILLES EN COTE D’IVOIRE
    AI
    08 Mar 2007
    98 Years of International Women’s Day—Time for Equality
    AI
    30 Nov 2007
    Uganda: Justice system fails victims of sexual violence
    AI
    29 Nov 2007
    Amnesty International Report Details Culture of Impunity in Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Northern Uganda
    AIUK, REDRESS, TRIAL
    12 Apr 2013
    G8 commitment to tackle impunity for rape in conflict welcomed by human rights groups
    APSO AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLES' SOLIDARITY
    08 Mar 2009
    International Women’s Day
    ASF
    08 Mar 2013
    Access to justice reinforces women’s rights
    Amnesty International
    Mar 2011
    Rape and sexual violence - Human Rights Law and standards in the International Criminal Court
    Amnesty International
    31 Oct 2012
    Bosnia and Herzegovina: Time for Republika Srpska to make reparations for war-time rape
    Amnesty International
    25 Nov 2013
    Global campaign targets violence against women and girls caused by 'militarism'
    CAD
    08 Mar 2009
    Unir les femmes et les hommes pour mettre fin à la violence contre les femmes et les filles
    CICC
    08 Mar 2007
    Global Coalition Says Implementation of Rome Statute’s Gender Protections at Turning Point
    CICC
    05 Mar 2008
    Coalition Members, Affiliates Celebrate 2008 International Women's Day
    CICC
    06 Mar 2008
    INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Global Coalition Says National Implementation of Rome Statute Critical to Ending Impunity for Violence against Women
    CICC
    06 Mar 2009
    Coalition Members Celebrate 2009 International Women's Day
    CICC
    08 Mar 2010
    Protection for Women is Paramount to End Impunity
    CICC
    08 Mar 2012
    Global Coalition Celebrates International Women’s Day
    CICC
    26 Nov 2012
    States Must Take Lead in Elimination of Violence against Women
    CICC
    07 Mar 2013
    States Must End Impunity for Grave Crimes against Women
    CICC
    24 June 2013
    Security Council Resolution Underlines ICC’s Role in Preventing Sexual Violence
    CICC
    25 Nov 2013
    States: Use ICC System to Eliminate Grave Crimes against Women
    CICC
    07 Mar 2014
    Grave Crimes against Women Continue, Greater Accountability Needed
    CWGL
    08 Mar 2008
    International Women’s Day
    Comisión de Equidad, Género y Familia Parlamento Mexicano
    08 Mar 2007
    Boletin de prensa: Diputada Victoria Chavira presenta iniciativa para tipificar el delito de feminicidio como delito de lesa humanidad
    FIDH
    31 Oct 2007
    Crimes sexuels: Briser le tabou, lutter contre l'impunité
    FIDH
    Mar 2008
    Women of Iran, we do not forget you!
    FIDH
    08 Mar 2008
    Members of the European Parliament support FIDH’s appeal for stronger EU action on women’s rights
    FIDH
    09 May 2012
    FIDH Supports the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
    FIDH
    09 Apr 2013
    Violence against women in Syria: Breaking the silence
    HRW
    08 Mar 2007
    International Women’s Day: Girls Face Widespread Violence
    HRW
    22 Aug 2007
    Darfur: Urgent Measures Needed to Address Sexual Violence
    HRW
    16 July 2009
    DR Congo: Hold Army Commanders Responsible for Rapes
    Human Rights First
    07 Mar 2012
    Human Rights Defenders Celebrated during International Women’s Day
    Human Rights Watch
    28 Aug 2012
    Colombia: Conviction for conflict-related rape and murders ‘a rare victory’
    NPWJ
    13 Mar 2014
    NPWJ Training of the Trainers on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Syria concludes
    No Peace Without Justice
    08 Mar 2012
    The Universal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation is a goal within close reach
    Odhikar
    08 Mar 2008
    International Women’s Day
    PCHR
    25 Nov 2013
    Under the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation, Palestinian Women Wait for Justice, But Who Will Respond?
    Physicians for Human Rights
    30 Oct 2012
    PHR Endorses Statement of International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict on the Attack Against Dr. Denis Mukwege
    Rights and Democracy
    06 Mar 2009
    International Women's Day: Rights & Democracy salutes the courage of women's
    SYCOVI
    11 Sept 2010
    Press release on mass rapes committed in Walikale & luvungi, Eastern DRC
    TRIAL
    25 Sept 2013
    Landmark Declaration to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
    Vision GRAM International
    08 Mar 2008
    International Women's Day: Support them!
    WCGJ
    01 Jan 2003
    Mujeres a la Corte, YA!
    Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
    18 Dec 2011
    THE WOMEN’S INITIATIVES FOR GENDER JUSTICE LAUNCHES THE “GENDER REPORT CARD ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT 2011”
    Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
    27 Aug 2012
    ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appoints Brigid Inder as Special Gender Advisor
    Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
    12 Feb 2013
    Women's Initiatives presentation to Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative G8 Expert Meeting
    Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
    08 Mar 2014
    Statement for International Women’s Day
    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
    07 Mar 2012
    International Women’s Day Statement to the Conference on Disarmament
    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
    08 Mar 2012
    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: Statement for the International Women’s Day
    Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
    Apr 2010
    In Pursuit of Peace
    Related Websites
    Author Date and Title
    WIGJ
    07 Mar 2007
    Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
    APWLD
    07 Mar 2007
    Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
    CAFRA
    07 Mar 2007
    Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action
    CWGL
    07 Mar 2007
    Center for Women’s Global Leadership
    FIDA Kenya
    07 Mar 2007
    Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA Kenya)
    IFWLC
    07 Mar 2007
    International Federation of Women in Legal Careers
    AWM
    07 Mar 2007
    The Afghan Women's Mission
    UN Reports, Resolutions, and Statements
    Author Date and Title
    UN Women
    05 Mar 2012
    Message of Michelle Bachelet Executive Director of UN Women on International Women’s Day 2012
    Mission of Estonia to the United Nations
    23 Feb 2012
    Statement by H.E. Tiina Intelmann, Ambassador-at-Large for International Criminal Court, Republic of Estonia President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
    United Nations Security Council
    23 Feb 2012
    Statement by the President of the Security Council
    UNHCR
    Jan 2008
    UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls
    Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in cooperation with the UN Mission in S
    20 Aug 2007
    Eighth periodic report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in the Sudan: Women abducted, raped and kept as sex slaves following the December 2006 attacks on Deribat
    UN
    08 Mar 2007
    United Nations Secretary General Statement on IWD 2007
    UN
    08 Mar 2007
    Background Document on Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls