News / Africa

ICC Prosecutor Hails Shift in Fight Against Sexual Violence

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gives a press conference on in Dakar, November 12, 2012.
International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gives a press conference on in Dakar, November 12, 2012.
Nancy Palus
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says governments and civil society are showing increased commitment to fighting sexual crimes and other violence against women. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spoke to reporters in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, at the opening of a five-day conference on women in the legal sector. 

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who was in Dakar for a conference of the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers - an organization aimed at protecting the rights of women worldwide - said she is hearing communities speak more and more openly about sexual violence against women, and seeing an increased commitment by governments and civil society to tackling such crimes. She said it is all part of an evolution in how the world regards sexual violence.

"I do believe that states are getting more and more committed to addressing the sexual and gender crimes that take place," Bensouda said. "This is what we need to see, to ensure that we address these crimes, because unless we do that it will always be taken for granted that they should not be addressed."
 
The International Criminal Court, which marks its 10-year anniversary this week, has 15 cases on its docket.
 
Bensouda noted to delegates at the conference in Dakar that of these 15 cases, 11 concern sexual violence charges, one sign, she said, of how far international criminal law has evolved in giving sexual crimes the attention they warrant.  In the 1990s rape was classed as an instrument of genocide. And the Special Court for Sierra Leone has called forced marriage a crime against humanity.
 
All 15 of the cases currently on the ICC’s docket concern alleged crimes in Africa.  Responding to a reporter’s question of whether the ICC is unfairly “targeting” Africa, Bensouda called for a shift in focus from perpetrators to victims - who are also Africans.
 
"ICC is working with the victims of these crimes," she said. "We are also working for the victims of these crimes. They are African victims. And they deserve justice. And they deserve a voice. ICC’s intervention in Africa is largely as a result of Africa coming towards the ICC and requesting the ICC to come and address these crimes.  I think that we have to readjust our thinking and start thinking of the victims of these crimes.  They deserve justice. They deserve peace. They can have both."
 
Addressing a legal case long hanging over Senegal - that of former Chadian leader Hissène Habré, who has lived in the country for decades - Bensouda said the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the case as the alleged crimes occurred before the court existed. But, she said, the court “stands ready to share experiences” with Senegal should it embark on investigating and prosecuting the case.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid