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2007 | M.D. Schneider - About Women, War and Darfur: The Continuing Quest forGender Violence Justice

Though to some extent outdated by subsequent developments this article gives a particularly broad account of several matters relevant to prosecutions and reparations for sexual violence crimes committed during the Darfur conflict.

It provides a compact but comprehensive summary of the international legal provisions, both historical and modern that prohibit and/or criminalize acts of sexual violence against civilians during conflict. It discusses the ICC principle of complementarity (according to which the Court steps in only where domestic judicial mechanisms are ‘unwilling’ or ‘unable’ to proceed themselves) and examines the extent to which Darfur has truly been ‘willing and able’ to investigate and prosecute crimes of conflict-related sexual violence. Chapter V studies the ongoing gender violence in Darfur despite the legal advancements that have been made. It devotes a section to Sudan’s duty to provide reparations.

The article highlights the crucial importance of the involvement of women in the legal and political processes that end violence, reaffirm the rule of law and help shape a post-conflict society in which sexual violence will no longer be tolerated.  It draws attention in particular to the document that emerged from the April 2005 Symposium on Women's Rights and Leadership in Post- Conflict Sudan, held in Oslo April 10, 2005 (see the Report by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs under reports in this section). Legislation that protects women from this violence and enables them to report it when it occurs was among their highest priorities.  

 1. Ensure the protection of women and girls in terms of safety from sexual and gender-based violence, especially in war-affected areas.
2. Create and strengthen institutional mechanisms so that women and girls can report acts of violence against them in a safe and confidential environment.
3. Enact legislation to protect women from sexual and gender based violence and to end impunity for perpetrators thereof.
4. Increase ease of access to support services for survivors, including psychosocial counseling and ready availability of post exposure prophylaxis kits.
5. Recognize the importance of HIV/AIDS in relation to human security as outlined in Security Council Resolution 1308 (2000) and ensure adequate education and awareness-raising, prevention and treatment on HIV/AIDS, specifically in connection with gender-based violence.
6. Collect and consolidate research and data on the impact of gender-based violence on women and girls, including as a result of armed conflict.