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On International Women’s Day, ICC reaffirms commitment to end sexual and gender-based crimes


Today, 8 March 2015, the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") joins many around the world in marking International Women's Day and reaffirms its commitment to accountability for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based crimes. 

One woman subjected to violence is one too many. Women bear the brunt of sexual and gender-based crimes in conflicts around the world with alarming frequency and violence. Putting a stop to the culture of discrimination that allows sexual and gender-based crimes to persist requires our collective efforts. We cannot and must not remain silent. Our collective voice to speak up for the victims, our will to act, our resolve to end the cycle of violence against women  and our commitment to hold perpetrators accountable through a robust and credible judicial process must remain firm and unabated. 

The Rome Statute is the most comprehensive international treaty in its recognition of the different forms of sexual and gender-based crimes as the most serious crimes under international law, including rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, forcible prostitution and gender-based persecution. To date, charges for sexual and gender-based crimes have been brought in 70 per cent of the cases at the ICC. 

The investigation and prosecution of such crimes is a key priority for the ICC Office of the Prosecutor. In 2014, the Prosecutor adopted a comprehensive Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes which guides the Office's work in fighting against impunity for such heinous crimes. By investigating and prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence where the Court has jurisdiction and national judicial systems are unable or unwilling to do so, the ICC contributes to the prevention and deterrence of such crimes.

On this International Women's Day, the Court calls for greater support from states and other stakeholders worldwide and urges them to  declare with one voice that sexual and gender-based crimes will no longer be tolerated, and that we will relentlessly pursue those who tear violently at the social fabric of society through such egregious crimes. Ending sexual and gender-based crimes must be a top priority for the international community. The challenges are certainly many, but through our collective efforts, we must prevail.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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