Examining Thematic Prosecutions and the Challenges of Understanding and Proving International Sex Crimes
Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Oslo, 2013, ISBN 978-82-93081-64-7
4 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2013
Date Written: 2013
[...] the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law (FICHL) has conducted a two-year joint research project with Yale University and the University of Cape Town on ‘International Sex Crimes: Understanding, Proving, Prosecutorial Thematization’, with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project involved two international expert seminars in New Haven (15–16 October 2010) and Cape Town (7-8 March 2011); the Policy Brief ‘International Sex Crimes as a Criminal Justice Theme’; and finally the preparation of two anthologies: ‘Understanding and Proving International Sex Crimes’, edited by Morten Bergsmo, Alf Butenschøn Skre, and Elisabeth J. Wood (Understanding and Proving); and ‘Thematic Prosecution of International Sex Crimes’, edited by Morten Bergsmo (Thematic Prosecution). These seminars and publications examine a number of practices that have developed in the area of international sex crimes, such as thematisation and reliance on popular evidential assumptions, and places several central questions on the agenda, including whether thematic prosecutions of international sex crimes can be properly justified and whether such crimes are more difficult to prove than other core international crimes. This Policy Brief highlights some discussion points and findings of the research project, reflects on their implications, and suggests how they may inspire future research and efforts to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of international sex crimes. It also indicates some essential components of the next stages of international activities to ensure accountability for international sex crimes.
Keywords: Thematic prosecution of international sex crimes, proving international sex crimes, national and international prosecutions of core international crimes
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