Regina Paulose, 'Prosecuting Gender-Based Crimes: An Interview with Dr. Hilmi M. Zawati'
Online: Contrario: International Criminal Law (6 March 2014)
7 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 6, 2014
In this interview, Dr. Zawati explains that the lack of accurate description of gender-based crimes in the statutory laws of the international criminal tribunals and courts infringes the principle of “fair labelling,” leads to inconsistent verdicts and punishments, and constitutes a barrier to justice. As a result, sexual violence in wartime settings should be prosecuted separately as crimes in themselves, not as a subsection of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
He added that the international community should make reform in the international criminal justice system, particularly amending the Rome Statute. Besides the required technical description of gender-based crimes as crimes against humanity and war crimes incorporated in articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute, amendments should also be made to Article 13(b) to transfer the authority of referring such crimes to the prosecutor of the ICC from the UN Security Council to the UN Human Rights Council. In the past three years, the Security Council has utterly failed to pass a resolution to stop war and to refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the ICC for the lack of political will on the part of some key players in the Council. Russia and China have vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, preventing several attempts by the UN Security Council to take a decision that might have put an end to the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against Syrian civilians. On the other hand, the ICC prosecutor should be granted more proprio motu powers to investigate gender-based crimes based on information received from individuals, groups, States, intergovernmental or nongovernmental organizations.
Keywords: Fair Labelling; Gender-Based Crimes; Gender-Based Crimes Prosecution; Lubanga Case; Rome Statute of the ICC; UN Reform; UN Security Council; Wartime Rape
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation