Litigation Strategies for Sexual Violence in Africa
98 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 5, 2012
This paper is a manual that examines the different legal options available to a victim/survivor of sexual violence or a rights group on her behalf. Although these legal options serve the overall goal of justice, they have different requirements of documentation, need different levels of victim participation and focus on a specific aspect of the remedy. The Manual aims to provide an overview of the legal options available to women to pursue justice for sexual violence and discusses the legal strategies that influence the choice of any given option. The overview of the legal options at the domestic level are provided by laying out laws and systems typical of the three broad types of legal systems in Africa – the common law system, the civil law system and Islamic law. For options at regional and international levels, the Manual lays out the basics of various regional and international human rights mechanisms and the instruments applying international humanitarian and criminal law. From a discussion of the practical possibilities or impediments at the domestic level; the decisions of the regional and international human rights mechanisms; and the judgments of the regional and international courts and tribunals emerge strategies that women and victims of sexual violence may employ in their pursuit of justice, with varying degree of potential success.
Keywords: human rights, litigation, sexual violence, African women, ACHPR, ICC, IACHR, CEDAW
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