Foreword by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Edited By: Baron Serge Brammertz, Michelle Jarvis
The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) marked a watershed moment in the history of international law on women in conflict. Its governing statute included one of the first explicit formulations of rape as a crime against humanity and marked an intentional effort to make people aware of what has been one of history’s greatest silences—sexual violence in conflict. Since then, the ICTY, alongside the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, have been responsible for foundational jurisprudence on conflict-related sexual and gender-based crimes as well as for important changes in the rules of procedure in relation to victims of these crimes. As the ICTY transfers its judicial documents to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, it is critical that these past decades of experience gained and history made are captured, and translated into guidance to inform future processes that secure justice and accountability for sexual- and gender-based crimes at both the international and—critically—the national level.
Supporting investigations and prosecutions of sexual- and gender-based violence is a central component of UN Women’s work to strengthen women’s access to justice for conflict-related crimes. Ending impunity for sexual- and gender-based violence is one of the most challenging yet fundamental conditions for the restoration of the rule of law and the establishment of sustainable peace, post-conflict. It is for this reason that we have been proud partners of the ICTY’s legacy work that has culminated in this important publication. It is also why we continue to support similar efforts by the ICTR and the Special Court of Sierra Leone. We firmly believe that these extensive bodies of knowledge that have been drawn from atrocities will lead other societies with similar histories towards justice and a lasting peace. Through knowledge products such as this, the Tribunal and the international community as a whole is adding to the resources and tools needed in order to secure justice and accountability for survivors of conflict-related sexual- and gender-based violence, and to achieve a more peaceful and inclusive future for all.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women