Senegal: ICC Prosecutor calls for collective effort to combat violence against women

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has called for  a ''collective and robust effort'' to combat violence against women.

The call was contained in Mrs Bensouda's statement made in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25).

According to the statement, made available to PANA in Dakar, Bensouda said: "In marking the day, people around the globe shine a spotlight on the need to eradicate the scourge of violence against women.

''The unfortunate truth remains that such violence persists and women around the world suffer its consequences.

''As Prosecutor of the ICC, I see all too often the prevalence of mass violence against women in the form of sexual and gender-based crimes, such as rape, sexual slavery and forced marriages. Any woman subjected to these evils anywhere in the world, is one too many.''

She explained that it is now rightfully acknowledged in international law that sexual and gender-based violence can constitute crimes which offend the conscience of humanity as a whole.

''Cementing this shift, the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the ICC – is the first international legal instrument to include an expansive list of sexual and gender-based crimes as crimes against humanity and war crimes relating to both international and non-international armed conflicts.''

According to her, the Rome Statute also codified the notion that sexual violence committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, may constitute acts of genocide.

''It is my duty to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are held to account but my mandate is much more than to simply secure convictions. We must not only bring to justice those most responsible for these crimes, but also contribute to the prevention of such crimes,'' Mrs Bensouda added.

She said it was her vision that through the dogged pursuit of those who commit such egregious atrocities, the ICC would bring hope to the countless victims  and that justice would be served and start to reverse the social marginalisation that allowed such violence to persist.

''Preventing sexual and gender-based crimes must be a collective effort and at the top of the global agenda in this new century.''

''In accordance with my mandate, I will spare no effort to bring accountability for such heinous crimes. Where others may want to draw a veil over these crimes I, as Prosecutor, must draw a line under them,'' Mrs Bensouda concluded.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 26Nov2015

26 november 2015 12:51:19

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