Women, War, and Words: The Gender Component in the Permanent International Criminal Court’s Definition of Crimes Against Humanity

Brook Moshan


Fordham Interational Law Journal


This Comment addresses the intersection of gender issues and human rights law as illustrated by the formation of the permanent ICC. Specifically, it argues that the inclusion of gender- motivated crimes in the ICC’s definition of crimes against humanity was necessary to emphasize women’s wartime experiences and injuries, but that such inclusion is not enough to ensure gender justice as the ICC begins to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Part I of this Comment discusses the concept of gender-based crimes and illustrates these crimes through recent examples of gender-based violence. It also reviews the history of the ICC, focusing on the events leading up to the Rome Conference and the adoption of the ICC statute. Part II discusses the treatment of gender in the ICC statute. Part III argues that the inclusion of gender-based crimes in the definition of crimes against humanity in the ICC statute is a victory for women’s rights, but that the Rome Statute fails to address some of the most essential concerns of women’s rights advocates. This Comment concludes that the Rome Statute is ultimately only a partial victory for gender justice.
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