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Interpreting International Crimes from a ‘Female Perspective’: Opportunities and Challenges for the International Criminal Court

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What would it mean for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to interpret the crimes within its jurisdiction without “adverse distinction” on the grounds of gender? Would it simply mean recognising that these crimes may be committed against men, women, boys and girls; or would it require a deeper rethinking of, and perhaps a departure from, conventional interpretations of these crimes? This article explores this question, using the crime against humanity of “apartheid” and the war crime of “using children in hostilities” as examples. The article takes into account legal sources, such as relevant treaties and judicial decisions, as well as empirical research that throw the reality of violence against women and girls into sharp relief. It is hoped that this exploration will lead to further discussion about gender discrimination in the interpretation of the Rome Statute crimes, and contribute to the development of a “feminist jurisprudence” in international criminal law.

Affiliations: 1: Postdoctoral Fellow, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


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