Engendering Genocide: The Akayesu Case Before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY STORIES, Foundation Press, 2008
30 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2008 Last revised: 5 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2008
This article - which will appear as a chapter in a "law stories" volume on Human Rights Advocacy - discusses the role that advocacy by women's rights and human rights organizations and activists played in gaining legal recognition of the concept of genocidal rape within international criminal law. The chapter discusses the procedural history and jurisprudential contributions of the case against Jean Paul Akayesu before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The chapter then traces Akayesu's legacy with respect to gender justice with respect to subsequent cases before the ad hoc international tribunals and within the Statute of the international criminal court. The Chapter concludes that while feminist advocacy produced important concrete results in the Akayesu case, when placed in this larger context, the Akayesu case better exemplifies the difficulty faced by activists in influencing the prosecutorial and adjudicative process, where prosecutorial discretion is paramount and tribunals may only rule on the evidence that properly appears before them.
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