By analysing the proposals contained in the report, “Promoting Women’s Rights Through Sharia in Northern Nigeria,” which was published by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria in 2005, this paper explores the complexities and consequences of a rights strategy grounded in “an authentic understanding of Sharia.” The paper argues that this strategy may further constrain the discourses of debate for Muslim women in northern Nigeria. It also discusses how the strategy privatizes responsibility for poverty eradication, and how it ignores competing languages of social change, including Nigerian and international women’s rights.
The March 2016 Confirmation of Charges Decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court in Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen characterized the practice of forced conjugal association as the crime against humanity of ‘other inhumane acts’. This decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber comes amidst an unsettled jurisprudence on the legal characterization of the practice of forced conjugal association. The unsettled nature of the jurisprudence has led to inconsistencies in the legal characterization of forced conjugal association as either forced marriage as an ‘other inhumane act’ or sexual slavery, a variant of the general rubric of slavery. Accordingly, this article analyses the expressive effects of the labelling by contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals of forced conjugal association as either forced marriage as an ‘other inhumane act’ or slavery.