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Sexual Exploitation and Beyond: Using the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to Prosecute UN Peacekeepers for Gender-based Crimes

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Allegations and confirmed cases of misconduct by peacekeeping personnel have been revealed by non-governmental organisations, the press and UN investigations. The majority of misconduct has fallen under the term 'sexual exploitation and abuse'. Sexual exploitation and abuse has encompassed rape, sex with minors, trafficking, prostitution-related conduct, sexual exploitation, and other sexual abuse. This article discusses accountability in international criminal law for such conduct, first exploring the development of gender-based crime in international criminal law. The core of this article consists of an examination of the applicable law under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to determine whether or not the provisions could be used to prosecute peacekeepers for the crimes of rape, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, prostitution-related conduct, and trafficking. Real life examples of criminal conduct by peacekeeping personnel will be given to test the applicability of the Rome Statute provisions.

Affiliations: 1: Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


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