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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.

In: International Criminal Law Review