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A Shift Toward Gender Equality in Prosecutions: Realizing Legitimate Enforcement of Crimes Committed Against Women in Municipal and International Criminal Law


Tamara Francita Lawson


St. Thomas University School of Law

April 14, 2009

Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, Winter 2009

Abstract:     
A new era of law enforcement has emerged recognizing the importance of punishing gender-specific violence. This first wave of "gender-sensitive prosecutors" has changed the way crimes against women are handled in the criminal justice system. The enactment of gender neutralizing laws and policies has dramatically improved the enforcement of crimes against women and attempts to end the era of impunity. This Article addresses the changes in prosecutions and further considers international human rights treaties that require gender equality in law enforcement.

In criminal law, it is the willingness of a prosecutor to exercise his or her discretionary authority to file a case that has the most profound impact upon actual realized justice. Thus, this shift toward gender equality in enforcement directly impacts the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. This Article discusses the voluntary and involuntary changes to prosecutors' exercise of discretion to pursue justice in crimes that impact women. Recently prosecutors are giving priority to and extending specialized resources for the prosecution of gender-specific crimes, such as: domestic violence and various forms of sexual violence. Although there is still much work to be done, the modern era of enforcement of the human rights of women has begun.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: gender, prosecutorial discretion, rape, domestic violence, crimes against women

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Date posted: April 16, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Lawson, Tamara Francita, A Shift Toward Gender Equality in Prosecutions: Realizing Legitimate Enforcement of Crimes Committed Against Women in Municipal and International Criminal Law (April 14, 2009). Southern Illinois University Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, Winter 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1381362

Contact Information

Tamara Francita Lawson (Contact Author)
St. Thomas University School of Law ( email )
16401 NW 37th Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL 33054
United States

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