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Introduction: The Historical Vacuum

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Chapter Summary

Throughout history, the rape of women during war has been deemed an unavoidable consequence of wartime, essential to preserving the troops' morale, along with pillaging and property crimes. This introductory chapter suggests that one view sex crimes as two-dimensional crimes: ethnic crimes and gender crimes. It analyzes the argument that rape during war is not only a crime linked to the national or international conflict, but that it also includes an additional stratum: it is a tool for the subordination of women, for male sexual satisfaction and empowerment, and for the confirmation of male control over the female gender. It is not sufficient to treat rape as solely another offense under the existing traditional crime categories in international law. It must be anchored as a discrete crime that will establish the boundaries of the legal norm, harmonize different nations' laws, and eradicate the remnants of patriarchy linked to this offense.

Keywords: international conflict; international law; rape



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