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Noëlle Quénivet

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Noëlle Quénivet

Noëlle N.R. Quénivet has constructed a valuable tool for navigating the morass of sexual offences and international law. Using Bosnia-Herzegovina a jumping off point, she proceeds to show how, over the last two decades, the Western world has been swept up by a wave of feminist scholars writing about international law and more particularly humanitarian and human rights law. Although these articles, books and statements have covered a broad range of issues, the focus has been on sexual offences and, more specifically, on rape in times of conflict. These authors, as well as NGOs supporting their ideas, have made a series of assumptions concerning sexual offences in times of armed conflict. On the basis of these presumptions, they have claimed inter alia that international law does not adequately prohibit sexual offences and that prosecution is scarce.



This timely work examines whether the assumptions made by feminist scholars are solidly grounded in international law and whether their claims are still valid regarding the latest legal developments. A thorough examination of the laws and the jurisprudence relating to sexual offences demonstrates that whereas before the creation of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals some of their claims were founded, these claims are now partially ill-founded.

Published under the Transnational Publishers imprint.

Noëlle Quénivet

Abstract

As a growing number of stories unravelled the involvement of United Nations peacekeepers in human trafficking and sexual exploitation cases, the United Nations adopted in 2003 and implemented a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual encounters between peacekeepers and local women. This article argues that this policy is flawed for a number of reasons. First, it does not apply to all United Nations-related personnel and thereby fails to target those who are mostly engaged in such activities. Second, it only provides for disciplinary measures, a flaw only partially remedied by the draft convention on the criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission. Third, it does not take into account the jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals on sexual offences, for it negates the possibility of consent.

Noëlle Quénivet

Whilst most legal scholarship focuses on the responsibility of the United Nations for human rights violations few studies have ascertained the legal basis of the primary rules leading to such responsibility. This article fills this gap by reviewing the theories used to bind the un to customary human rights law: (1) the un has inherited its member states’ obligations, (2) participation in the formation of customary human rights law implies being bound by it, (3) the un is bound by international law because it has legal personality and (4) as the un is embedded in international law it must comply with its norms. Such theories are further tested against the backdrop of international organizations’ theories. The article draws the conclusion that (1) should be rejected, (2) is not yet legally sound and (3)-(4), despite their flaws, are more persuasive. Ultimately, recourse must be had to general international law.

Noëlle Quénivet