Politics Trivia! - Rape-Minded Woman Prosecuted for War Crimes in Rwanda.
We need to smartalize this place up a little bit. Whenever I find an interesting and well-written political article, I'll post it.
Check this out. During the massacre in Rwanda back in '94, one of the Hutu leaders, a woman, actively encouraged her Hutu followers to rape as many Tutsi women as possible. So if you're a Tutsi woman and lucky enough to survive, chances are that you're probably going to get raped. And your aggressors are only following orders given them by a woman.
The article is superlong so I'm only posting a very small part of it:
[B]A woman scorned for the "least condemned" war crime: precedent and problems with prosecuting rape as a serious war crime in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.[/B]
[I]From: [U]Columbia Journal of Gender and Law [/U]
Date: December 22, 2004
Author: Wood, Stephanie K. [/I]
The woman scorned is Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda's Former Minister for Women's Affairs, who is currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ("ICTR") for allegedly using her official capacity to incite Hutus to rape thousands of female Tutsis during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. (1) She is the first woman to be charged with rape as a crime against humanity by an international tribunal. (2) The 1994 Rwanda Genocide had devastating effects on the female population in the country due to the systematic gender-based violence endorsed and carried out by government officials. (3) Almost one million people were killed in one hundred days (4) and, according to some reports, nearly all female survivors--including many young girls (5)--were raped and sexually brutalized. (6) While these crimes are neither historically nor geographically unique to the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, (7) the ICTR's efforts in prosecuting gender-based violence as crimes against humanity and tools of genocide have been unprecedented.8 Rape warfare, although common throughout history, has traditionally been the least condemned war crime.
Although not without criticism, (9) the ICTR shattered historical ambivalence toward gender-based violence by indicting and prosecuting Rwandan officials who countenanced rape as a method of warfare during the genocide. (10) The first step in shattering this ambivalence occurred with the prosecution of Jean Paul Akayesu, (11) a mayor in the Taba Commune, (12) who also sanctioned massive sexual violence against Tutsi women. With the Prosecutor v. Akayesu (13) decision, the ICTR became the first international war crimes tribunal to convict an official for genocide and to declare that rape could constitute genocide. (14) Pressure from women's groups, coupled with cooperation and support coming from within the ICTR, led to the watershed decision linking sexual violence to the genocide in Rwanda. (15) However, the ICTR's handling of the Akayesu and Nyiramasuhuko cases also reveal a failure to adequately investigate and indict the gender-based violence sanctioned by the government during the genocide before trial, deficiencies in handling witnesses during the investigation and trial stages, and delays affecting the delivery of justice to survivors. These deficiencies must be addressed and corrected in order to maintain the Tribunal's legitimacy, protect women's human rights, and build upon the jurisprudence condemning rape warfare as genocide. An assessment of the ICTR's deficiencies is especially timely given that the tenth anniversary of the genocide occurred in April 2004.
Although the Akayesu conviction and the Nyiramasuhuko prosecution have significant precedential value, the problems encountered by the ICTR in indicting and prosecuting gender-based violence should be lessons for future prosecutions in the international community. (16) Recognition of rape as a serious war crime represents only the first step in creating the deterrent necessary to combat future impunity. Assessing the past in order to improve the effectiveness of future prosecutions for rape warfare is imperative as women of all ages, races, colors, creeds, and ethnicities continue to be raped during armed conflicts. (17) Effective prosecutions will lead to more convictions, which will in turn translate into a legal vindication of women's human rights in the international community. (18)
This article argues that while the ICTR has established an important precedent in prosecuting gender-based violence as crimes against humanity and tools of genocide, its deficiencies illustrate the continued straggle to enforce international norms protecting women from violence during armed conflict. (19) Without improvements in three specific areas, the potency of the ICTR's groundbreaking decisions will become diluted and less likely to be applied by other legal bodies, to further the objective of enforcing women's human rights, and to lead to greater deterrence of gender-based violence. Part II of this article discusses the gender-based violence that occurred during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and addresses the historic ambivalence toward prosecuting rape as a war crime or crime against humanity. This ambivalence demonstrates a lack of implementation and enforcement of the legal norms protecting women's human rights. (20) Part III emphasizes the significance of the first international conviction of rape as a condemnable war crime, while highlighting the need for improvements in order to ensure more effective prosecution of gender-based violence. The cases of two prominent Rwandan officials--Akayesu and Nyiramasuhuko--are discussed in this regard. Part III also explains how the ICTR's progressive precedent on sexual violence is being tarnished by the Tribunal's continuing failure to adequately indict perpetrators for commission of gender-based crimes, a widening divide between the need for legal justice and survivors' interests, and excessive delays that are diluting the credibility of legal justice as a deterrent. Part IV concludes with three major recommendations to the ICTR directed at improving the Tribunal's prosecution of gender-based violence and preserving its legitimacy as a source of international condemnation and deterrence.
While violence against women occurs every day worldwide, (21) women are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence (22) during armed conflict. (23) International norms (24) protect women from gender-based violence in theory, (25) but adequate norm development requires implementation and enforcement by the international community in order to transform theory into practice. (26)
A. The Least Condemned War Crime: A Historical Perspective of Rape in Armed Conflict
Prior to the Akayesu decision, the international community treated rape as the "least condemned war crime." (27) Throughout history, rape has regularly been used as a method of warfare in both international and internal armed conflicts; (28) however, the international community has treated rape as a prosecutable war crime only in the last fifty years. (29)
Despite the sexual violence and systematic rape that occurred during World War II, (30) rape was not prosecuted as a war crime. (31) The International Military Tribunal for the Far East ("IMTFE") (32) omitted sexual crimes from its charter (although charges of rape were included in some of the indictments). (33) The IMTFE prosecuted rape only in conjunction with other crimes, classifying it as "inhuman treatment," "ill-treatment," and "failure to respect family honour and rights;" however, it was not considered a serious enough charge to stand alone in an indictment. (34) In 1946, during the prosecutions led by the Control Council for Germany, (35) rape was specifically enumerated as a crime against humanity, although it was never prosecuted as such. (36) In fact, prosecutors did not include rape in a single indictment. (37)
Promulgated in the wake of the Second World War, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 explicitly recognized rape as a wrong in armed conflict, but framed it as an attack on a woman's honor instead of a serious human rights violation. (38) Article 27 of the Fourth Convention provides that "women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault." (39) By framing rape as an indignity or an attack on women's honor, the severity of this human rights violation in the eyes of the international community is diminished. The reach of the definition is limited because rape as a crime against honor requires preconditions of virginity or chastity--simply being an individual entitled to physical security is not sufficient. (40) It also ignores the fact that a rape victim subsequently faces community stigmatization and thus fears to reveal the violation, thereby diminishing the potential for justice. (41) In stark contrast, the prosecution of rape as a crime against humanity provides for the recognition that rape is "fundamentally violence against women--violence against their bodies, autonomy, integrity, selfhood, security, and self-esteem" thus an unacceptable human fights violation. (42)
Although contemporary international treaties include gender-based violence as a prohibited offense, (43) the ICTR's gender-conscious prosecution of rape as a crime of war represents the long-awaited manifestation of concrete enforcement of women's international human rights. (44) The extensive and systematic gender-based violence that occurred during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide demonstrated the failure of international norms theretofore in protecting women from unlawful human rights violations. (45)
B. Gender-Based Violence in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide
Approximately one million Rwandan men, women, and children were massacred in a three-month period in 1994. (46) Ethnic tensions in Rwanda erupted after an unknown party shot down the plane carrying President Habyarimana in Kigali, Rwanda on April 6, 1994. (47) In response, two militia groups--the Rwandan Armed Forces ("RAF") and the Interahamwe--immediately set up roadblocks and began a house-to-house hunt to find and murder Tutsis and moderate Hutus for retribution. (48) During the ensuing Rwandan genocide, Hutu individuals committed widespread gender-based violence against Tutsi women and some Hutu women, (49) including rape, mutilation, and sexual slavery. (50) Moreover, Rwandan officials sanctioned and encouraged this violence. (51)
Despite the existence of international norms proscribing violence against women, (52) the 1994 Rwanda Genocide had devastating effects on women. (53) Ethnic and gender stereotypes propagated by the Hutu majority before 1994 fueled widespread gender-based violence against women. (54) For example, propaganda portrayed Tutsi females as condescending seductresses inaccessible to Hutu men. (55) When females in an ethnic caste are characterized as "sexual temptresses" they become "by definition unchaste and therefore subject to sexual abuse without legal redress." (56) Such images thus contributed to the racist attitude that Tutsi women were objects to be dominated, dehumanized, and destroyed by Hutu soldiers. (57)
The death toll from the genocide does not adequately reflect the number of women who suffered sexual violence at the hands of the Hutus. Gender-based crimes are extremely difficult to document because they typically involve physical and psychological injuries that women often conceal in order to avoid further emotional distress, community ostracization, (58) and retribution from perpetrators. (59) Nonetheless, the reports estimating the number of women who were raped--based on the number of pregnancies conceived during the three-month period--conclude that "rape was the rule and its absence the exception." (60) Such statistical approximations yield a number ranging from at least 250,000 to 500,000 rape survivors. (61) However, this number does not account for the thousands of women so brutalized during acts of sexual violence that they can no longer conceive children as a result, nor does it account for the number of multiple rapes and gang rapes suffered by individual women throughout the conflict. (62) The figure also does not account for the unmarried women who self-aborted their rape-conceived pregnancies (63) or committed infanticide (64) to spare themselves from cultural ostracization. (65)
Many Rwandan women have experienced a "living death" due to the psychological, emotional, physical, and social consequences of surviving rape. (66) Furthermore, many survivors will continue to carry these consequences with them throughout their lives. (67) Seventy percent of Rwandan rape survivors are now reportedly HIV-positive due to the systematic and purposeful rape by soldiers carrying the virus as part of the terror campaign. (68) Some survivors ache for death to end their misery. (69) According to one Rwandan rape survivor, "after rape, you don't have value in the community." (70) Thus, many survivors believe that rape is a crime worse than death, (71) and an accurate representation of the consequences of the gender-based violence suffered by Rwandan women in 1994 may never be known. (72)
Nyiramasuhuko's case presents the first time an international war crimes tribunal has indicted and prosecuted a woman for genocide or for inciting rape as a crime against humanity. (73) Her alleged involvement in the government-sanctioned sexual violence began in Butare, a Rwandarl town that put up a valiant defense to the Hum death squads only to suffer horrific consequences. (74) As a stronghold of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Butare had resisted the government's orders to carry out genocide. (75) Enraged by this defiance, the interim government sent Nyiramasuhuko to enforce its orders. (76) As the Minister of Women and Family Affairs, Nyiramasuhuko's official duties before the 1994 genocide included the preservation, education, and empowerment of Rwanda's women. (77) Nyiramasuhuko, however, allegedly used her official authority to dehumanize Rwandan women by ordering the rape and murder of Tutsi women.
Nyiramasuhuko's role in inciting the sexual violence as part of the genocide was not unique because other government officials also incited or sanctioned similar sexual violence; however, her case has received disproportionate media attention in comparison to her male counterparts. (78) Presumably, rape warfare is not newsworthy in itself, but a female leader advocating violence against women is a less common occurrence. (79) Witnesses have testified that Nyiramasuhuko frequently gave instructions to the Interahamwe militia (80) to rape Tutsi women before they killed them or to rape the women instead of killing them. (81) On April 25, 1994 acting in her official capacity, Nyiramasuhuko offered food and safety to thousands of beleaguered Tutsis in a Butare sports stadium. (82) Once they gathered in the sanctuary, she told the Hutu soldiers "[b]efore you kill the women, you need to rape them." (83) Shortly thereafter, Nyiramasuhuko visited a compound where Interahamwe members were guarding seventy Tutsi women and told the guards to burn the women. (84) Again she suggested, "[w]hy don't you rape them before you kill them?" (85) Although Nyiramasuhuko was one of the "best-known, most easily identifiable members of the government that orchestrated the slaughter," she traveled and worked undisturbed in the region for three years following the genocide before being arrested. (86) Even though conflicting reports exist as to her activity between 1994 and her eventual capture in 1997, her identity had not been concealed to prevent a more timely arrest. (87) Until amended, her original indictment did not include any charges for inciting the militia to commit acts of sexual violence against Tutsi women. (88)
One week before Nyiramasuhuko's arrival in Butare, the massacre of Tutsis began in the Taba commune of Gitarama under Jean Paul Akayesu's command. (89) As a Rwandan bourgmestre (mayor), Akayesu supervised the police bureau in the Taba commune, which is north of Butare. (90) In his official capacity, Akayesu was responsible for maintaining law and order in the Taba commune. (91) His authority included the power to call for assistance from regional or national authorities to keep the peace. (92) Once the genocide began, Tutsis sought refuge at the police bureau only to suffer heinous violence under his command. (93) At the commune, female displaced civilians were repeatedly raped, sexually violated, physically assaulted, and/or murdered. (94) Akayesu's amended indictment alleged that he knew that the acts were taking place and was at times present during their commission. (95) Further, by failing to prevent the acts while being present he encouraged their commission. (96) At least 2,000 Tutsis were killed in Taba during a three-month period. (97)
C. The Aftermath: The Journey to Legal Justice Begins
The classification of rape as a crime against humanity and a tool of genocide places it among the most serious types of international war crimes. (98) Genocidal acts and crimes against humanity command strong condemnation from the international community. (99) Before the Akayesu decision, skepticism existed as to whether rape or sexual assault could be prosecuted as a crime against humanity. (100) The ICTR created influential legal precedent by recognizing gender-based violence as among the most serious types of crimes under its jurisdiction. (101) The recognition of gender-based violence as a grave war crime signals that the international community will no longer tolerate such behavior and thus represents real progress in the enforcement and protection of women's human rights. (102) However, in order to achieve this end, the important legacy of the ICTR precedent in prosecuting gender-based violence must be preserved. (103)
The United Nations Security Council established the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania in November 1994 to render justice, aid reconciliation, and establish the historical truth of what happened in Rwanda in 1994. (104) In order to create the link between rape and the most serious war crimes, the ICTR needed a proper indictment, prosecution, and conviction integrating the legal definitions of sexual violence with genocide and crimes against humanity. (105) Although the ICTR Statute laid the groundwork, the original indictment of Akayesu would not have been amended to include charges of sexual violence without pressure from women's groups and cooperation within the ICTR. (106) The successful conviction of Akayesu for incitement of rape as a crime against humanity and a tool of genocide encouraged prosecutors to amend other indictments, as was the case with Nyiramasuhuko, in an effort to hold officials accountable for the extensive gender-based violence that occurred during the Rwandan genocide. (107) Because external pressure was the prerequisite to indicting officials for the widespread sexual violence, improvements in the internal legal structure of the Tribunal must occur to ensure that gender-based violence is prosecuted as effectively as genocidal murder. [/QUOTE]
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"I could have done worse!" exultantly cried the murderer Lebret, sentenced at Rouen to hard labor for life. — Félix Fénéon