Never Again... and Again: Law, Order, and the Gender of War Crimes in Bosnia and Beyond
46 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2008
The prosecution of war crimes - the invocation of law as validating order - marks a crucial point of contestation in the contemporary international legal system. In this article, I seek to examine this relationship between law and order by reference to the structure and function of war crimes. I argue that war crimes trials commonly rely on gendered conceptions of order and morality, defined by their 'public' face. They have traditionally had little to say about women's experiences in war, except in so far as those experiences could be moulded into suitable 'stories' for male consumption (as pornography, as propaganda). In this light, the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia marks a decidedly uncertain step forward in the development of international criminal law in general, and the protection of women's (human) rights in particular. The Tribunal has given unprecedented prominence to the war crime of rape, but it remains unclear whether this act of recognition will sterilise the gendered nature of the crime and the 'order' into which it is appropriated.
Keywords: war crimes, international criminal law, rape
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