Wartime Rape

Sexual Terrorism in the Eastern Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo - International Law and Human Rights


Stefan Kirchner


November 2008


GRIN Verlag







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Wartime Rape
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Wartime Rape

Autor: Stefan Kirchner
Sexual Terrorism in the Eastern Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo - International Law and Human Rights
About 5.4 million people have been killed in the wars in the Democratic Republic ofCongo (D.R.C.), the former Zaire. 45,000 die every month and hundreds of thousands ofwomen have been raped here in recent years. Wartime rapes are anything but new and havebeen employed not only to terrorize the population but also as weapon of genocide inRwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The Eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivuhave been affected by particular gruesome acts of violence and thousands of victims sufferfrom rape-induced fistulae, ruptures of the walls which separate the victim's vagina fromher rectum. According to UN staff and doctors in the region, all armed groups in theregion are involved in rapes and despite the 2002 Pretoria Accord which put an official endto the war, attacks and rapes continue to this very day. Many survivors are forced out oftheir homes and their families abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Therefore, apartfrom medical treatment and psychological counseling, there is a strong demand for justice.But due to the weak position of women in Congolese society, justice is much harder to getby than medical treatment. Although the Congolese Penal Code and Military Penal Codepenalize these crimes, the reaction by the Congolese government to the atrocities remainsinsufficient, making a solution based on Congolese criminal law unlikely. The practicalapplication of the D.R.C.'s domestic laws is found wanting and the law does not have thedeterrent effect which is required to prevent future atrocities, also due to the traditionalposition of women in Congolese society continues to be reflected in the law: According toArt. 448 of the D.R.C.'s family code, a married woman has to obtain her husband'spermission to bring a case to court - which provides a major obstacle on the road tojustice. This book deals with the multidimensional aspects of the problem, which rangefrom medicine and psychology to social issues and the quest for justice. In the latter partwe will examine not only the background by looking at relevant rules of InternationalHuman Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law but also look at legal responses tothese crimes both on a national level in the D.R.C. as well as on an international level andwith the question of how justice can be achieved for rape victims in a country ravaged bywar in which women continue to be second class citizens.<
ISBN-13: 9783640212484

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