Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Men in International Criminal Tribunals and Courts : Discussing Legal Feminist Framing Practices of Sexual Violence and their Impact on Male Victims of Sexual Violence

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202011194504
Title: Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Men in International Criminal Tribunals and Courts : Discussing Legal Feminist Framing Practices of Sexual Violence and their Impact on Male Victims of Sexual Violence
Author: van der Velde, Anna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2016
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202011194504
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/321680
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: Sexual violence in conflict against men and boys has been prevalent throughout conflicts in history. Nonetheless, this form of violence has received less attention in international scholarly and judicial discourses than similar forms of abuse against women and girls. Building on critical feminist thought, this thesis seeks to study the thematic development of international criminal tribunals’ and courts’ discussions on sexual violence against men and boys in conflict. Further, it examines how feminist legal activists’ framings of conflict-related sexual violence are visible in international criminal law (ICL) case law and what consequences these framings have on male victims of sexual violence. Since the 1990s, the feminist debate on sexual violence in conflict produced different strategies of influencing the international debate on conflict-related sexual violence. Governance feminist have sought to do so from within ICL institutions and critical feminist have mostly reviewed and engaged in the discourse and its consequences largely as external actors. This thesis argues that in an attempt to include women’s concerns in ICL case law, governance feminism introduced a gender language to ICL that reduces a contextualising analysis of gender-based violence, which lies at the heart of feminist legal thought and advocacy, to a predominant focus on sexual violence. The adoption of this governance feminist understanding of gender has curtailed the recognition and documentation of conflict-related sexual violence against men and boys in ICL court and tribunal cases. The thesis shows that conflict-related sexual violence against men is primarily discussed by ICL benches under the themes of rape, torture, imprisonment and in some contexts as psychological violence. The examined courts utilise a simplistic understanding of conflict-related sexual violence. They frame male victims predominantly through the same lenses as female victimhood as feminised and humiliated individuals caught in power contestations, sex binaries with men as perpetrators and women as victims, and one-dimensional ethnic divisions. Sexually abused men who do not conform to heterosexual norms, are members of specific ethnic groups or have been violated in detention conditions are thus often not recognised as victims. Their evidence is frequently excluded from ICL court proceedings due to the absence of comprehensive deconstructions of social and cultural norms surrounding gender conceptions in ICL case law. The lack of this dismantling of gender constructions in ICL proceedings raises further questions on the treatment of complex identity questions in ICL courts and the role of critical feminist legal thought as either reform driven or critical lens on discussions of gender in ICL.
Subject: Feminist legal theory
international criminal law
sexual violence in conflict
male victimhood
ICTY
ICTR
ICC
SCSL
Discipline: Kansainvälinen oikeus
International law
Folkrätt


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