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Forced Marriage: Exploring the Viability of the Special Court for Sierra Leone's New Crime Against Humanity

Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-35

African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice, Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2005  

Michael P. Scharf

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Suzanne Mattler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Abstract

During the conflict in Sierra Leone thousands of women were abducted by rebel forces and forced to marry their captors. The Special Court for Sierra Leone responded to the victimization of these women by creating a new crime against humanity - the crime of forced marriage - under the statutory category other inhumane acts and issued the first ever indictments for this new crime in April, 2004. This article seeks to explore the crime of forced marriage from its execution amidst the fighting in Sierra Leone to its place in international criminal law. In this article, the authors distinguish forced marriage from valid marriage and from other crimes against humanity, establish its viability under both international law and the Statute of the Special Court, and define forced marriage as a unique crime against humanity to be applied in future war crimes trials.

Keywords: Special Court for Sierra Leone, Forced marriage, Crimes against humanity, Arranged marriage, Jus cogens, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Sexual slavery, Torture, Forced pregnancy, Rape, Enslavement, International Criminal Court

JEL Classification: K14, K33

Suggested Citation

Scharf, Michael P. and Mattler, Suzanne, Forced Marriage: Exploring the Viability of the Special Court for Sierra Leone's New Crime Against Humanity. African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice, Forthcoming; African Perspectives on International Criminal Justice, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=824291

Michael P. Scharf (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

Case Western Reserve University, School of Law
11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-3299 (Phone)
216-368-2086 (Fax)

Suzanne Mattler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States

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