War and sexual violence
Centuries of warfare have two common traits: people get injured or die and fall victim to sexual violence. Even though various deterrent measures have been taken – such as the Lieber Code of 1863, the The Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Convention of 1949 – the crime has not stopped. With the recent definition of DR Congo as ‘rape capital of the world’ by Margot Wallström, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, it has become obvious that the crime is far from being under control.

Genocide and sexual violence
The International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has found that sexual violence committed during the Rwandan genocide was used as a tool for genocide. The Akayesu case of 1998 was the first time that the crime was categorized as such. The tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had groundbreaking judgments as well. It found sexual violence as a crime against humanity and proven ‘to be part as natural and foreseeable consequences of the ethnic cleansing campaign’.

'Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus' by Peter Paul Rubens
Jean-Paul Akayesu during his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)