UN: ICC launches policy on sexual gender-based crimes

New York, US (PANA) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda has launched a Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes, stressing the need to end impunity for such egregious crimes.  

Speaking at the launch of the policy at the UN headquarters in New York, Ms. Bensouda said it
was aimed at ensuring victims have a voice in court today and can prevent these crimes tomorrow.

She noted that sexual and gender-based crimes take place in conflict zones around the world with alarming intensity and frequency.

"It is my duty as ICC Prosecutor to challenge the culture of impunity that allows sexual and
gender-based crimes against girls and women, boys and men, in conflict and peace-time, to
persist," she stated.

According to her, the policy, the first and most comprehensive of its kind adopted by an international institution, aims to strengthen the prosecutor's office’s capacity to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of sexual and gender-based crimes falling within the ICC's jurisdiction in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

Ms. Bensouda said the policy would enhance the integration of a gender perspective and
expertise in all aspects of ICC's operations and investigations.

The policy was first unveiled in June this year, as the office’s Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes, which is the product of extensive external consultations, with relevant agencies of the UN, States Parties to the ICC, civil society and academia.

She said: "To date, the court has charged 17 individuals implicated in our cases with gender
related crimes, whilst specific charges of sexual violence were proffered in 70 percent of our
cases.

"These high numbers illustrate the prevalence of such horrific acts and they also highlight
the commitment to hold the perpetrators of such crimes accountable, and in the process, to
send a strong message that the culture of impunity for such crimes will  be met with the full
force of the law. We will continue on this path."

Ms. Bensouda stressed that unified action must be taken at both the national and
international level by all relevant actors to check sexual violence and other gender-related
crimes against women.

"We must relentlessly pursue accountability, domestically and internationally and send a
clear, strong, and consistent message that in this new era of international criminal justice,
sexual and gender-based crimes are serious crimes, which will neither be tolerated nor
ignored.

"The victims of such devastating crimes will not find solace in our words and promises,
but in what we manage to deliver in concrete terms. We must end sexual and gender-based
crimes, and I am confident, together, we can," the ICC prosecutor concluded.

A number of high-level dignitaries and activists participated in the launch event, including Ms. Catherine Samba-Panza, President of Central African Republic; Mr. Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al–Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mrs. Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Mr. Sidika Kaba, Minister of Justice of Senegal and incoming President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC

Others were Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, outgoing President of the Assembly of States
Parties to the ICC; Ms. Angelique Kidjo, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and UN
Goodwill Ambassador; and Ms. Brigid Inder, Special Gender Adviser to ICC Prosecutor.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR  9Dec2014

09 december 2014 19:07:42




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