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ICC to focus on sexual and gender-based crimes

[JURIST] The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [official website] on Friday published a Policy Paper [text, PDF] on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes. The ICC has reported [press release] that the comprehensive policy paper will help the Office of the Prosecutor work in fighting against impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes, and promote transparency and clarity as well as predictability in the application of the legal framework of the Rome Statute [text, PDF] to such crimes. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's [official profile] efforts come as a response to the recently added provisions made in the ICC's Rome Statute which recognizes sex and gender based crimes. In regards to the policy paper, Prosecutor Bensouda has stated "[t]he message to perpetrators and would-be perpetrators must be clear: sexual violence and gender-based crimes in conflict will neither be tolerated nor ignored at the ICC."

Sexual and gender-based crimes have been increasingly addressed by the international community. Last year UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called on South Africa to increase its efforts [JURIST report] to prevent sexual violence following the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl. Also last year the UN called on Somalia to re-open a recent case [JURIST report] in which an alleged rape victim and a journalist were both convicted of insulting a government body and making false claims for reporting on the woman's claims that she was raped by Somali soldiers. The UN also praised in a report [JURIST report] released by the Indian government recommending improvement in police and judicial response to rape accusations and harsher penalties for those convicted of sexual assault.

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