Forced Marriage: Exploring the Viability of the Special Court for Sierra Leone's New Crime Against Humanity
Michael P. Scharf
Case Western Reserve University School of Law; Frederick K. Cox International Law Center
Case Western Reserve University - School of Law
Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-35
African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice, Forthcoming
During the conflict in Sierra Leone thousands of women were abducted by rebel forces and forced to marry their captors. The Special Court for Sierra Leone responded to the victimization of these women by creating a new crime against humanity - the crime of forced marriage - under the statutory category other inhumane acts and issued the first ever indictments for this new crime in April, 2004. This article seeks to explore the crime of forced marriage from its execution amidst the fighting in Sierra Leone to its place in international criminal law. In this article, the authors distinguish forced marriage from valid marriage and from other crimes against humanity, establish its viability under both international law and the Statute of the Special Court, and define forced marriage as a unique crime against humanity to be applied in future war crimes trials.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: Special Court for Sierra Leone, Forced marriage, Crimes against humanity, Arranged marriage, Jus cogens, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Sexual slavery, Torture, Forced pregnancy, Rape, Enslavement, International Criminal Court
JEL Classification: K14, K33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 19, 2005
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