The Dangers of War Crimes Against Women
The Commission of Government Experts on the Convention for the Protection of War Victims published a report detailing the scale of violence committed against women during World War II. The report was designed to inform the world about the Convention for the Protection of War Victim’s rights and to prevent further abuse of women during wartime.
The absence of political will to tackle this growing problem is the root of this crisis, says Amnesty International. It has documented war crimes in 23 countries in 2016, but a lack of international leadership is keeping the situation worse. The UN Security Council remains paralyzed by rivalries among its permanent member states. Amnesty calls for a strong international response to protect women, children, and people from such atrocities.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a military operation has killed more than 50 civilians at a market. The attack occurred at noon on a market day, and was aimed at the civilian population. In the Amhara region, a TPLF artillery attack has killed six people and injured many more. The attack was aimed at a residential area, but witnesses say no military target was hit.
Despite the fact that the conflict in Ukraine has ended, Amnesty International continues to warn of the risks of war crimes against women. Women are particularly vulnerable during wartime, and many civilian groups are at a greater risk of suffering from the conflict. Among these are women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In 2021, Amnesty International found that more than 19,000 children were recruited as child soldiers and killed or wounded in armed conflicts. This includes sexual violence and abduction of children. Sadly, children who are not recruited into the military are often illegally detained and tortured.
Boko Haram fighters have also targeted women and girls during raids. In addition to killing people, the group has looted livestock, money, and valuables. In the process, they have sexually assaulted women and girls. This is an unacceptable practice that requires serious international action.
The international community has established specialized courts to bring criminals to justice. For instance, in March 2012, the ICC recorded its first conviction: Thomas Lubanga, a leader of an armed group in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to this, states can use the principle of universal jurisdiction to pursue prosecutions of war crimes perpetrators.
The Taliban’s crackdown has also targeted human rights defenders and civil society activists. Insurgents have harassed, detained, and murdered countless civilians for their human rights work. In addition, press freedom has been curtailed. On 19 September 2021, the Government Media and Information Centre issued a vague order that forbade the publication of stories deemed to be ‘contrary to Islam’ or ‘insulting to national figures.
Amnesty International has documented the ongoing sexual violence of fighting forces in Tigray, including gang rape, sexual slavery, and other forms of torture. Sexual violence is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute. In many instances, survivors are not able to seek treatment for their injuries because of the stigma associated with rape. As a result, their health continues to deteriorate, sometimes months after the rape has taken place.
The recent conflict in eastern Ukraine has forced armed groups to take control of parts of Ukraine. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission (UNMMU) in Ukraine has documented the absence of services for victims of domestic violence. Furthermore, UNMMU has also documented the unlawful imprisonment of women in non-government-controlled territories.
The United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has also raised the issue of the security of women during armed conflicts. In a statement released in June 2008, she said that sexual violence in armed conflict affected the health and economic stability of women.
“The Taliban have been accused of torturing civilians in Afghanistan since August 2021. They often beat and whip civilians during arrest. In some cases, women have been killed with their children by security forces. Additionally, dozens of women have been arrested for peaceful protests. Increasing restrictions on women’s rights have further weakened their lives.
In addition to the extrajudicial killings, there has also been the imprisonment of women. Since the Taliban took power, women have increasingly been subjected to increased levels of violence. Many women have been incarcerated and forced into prostitution. And the Taliban have stopped supporting women shelters.
The current crisis in Chad is a tragic example of the consequences of war crimes against women. In recent years, a former president of the country has been convicted of crimes against humanity and ordered to pay US$150 million in compensation for his victims.