Sexual Violence against Men and International Law – Criminalising the Unmentionable

In: International Criminal Law Review
Solange Mouthaan Associate Professor, Warwick School of Law, University of Warwick, Warwick, UK

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This article will discuss the manner in which international law deals with crimes of sexual violence committed against men during armed conflict. To date sexual violence against men has received little attention from the international community; instead its focus is almost exclusively on women, yet in armed conflicts across the world, sexual violence is also perpetrated against men. The example of torture demonstrates the current weaknesses in the relevant provisions for acts of sexual violence generally, and acts of sexual violence committed against men specifically. I argue that international criminal tribunals should address sexual violence more broadly, including against men. However, rather than to adopt a piecemeal approach differentiating between acts of sexual violence suffered by men and women, the experiences of men of sexual violence in armed conflict should be used to contribute to understanding the broader issue of gender-based crimes, of which sexual violence forms part.

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