The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, publishes comprehensive Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes
Today, 5 June 2014, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mrs Fatou Bensouda, has published a Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes (Policy Paper). This comprehensive Policy Paper will guide the Office of the Prosecutor in its 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 to such crimes. In turn, the policy will contribute to ensuring not only the effective investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes, but also to enhancing access to justice for victims of these crimes, through the ICC. Sexual and gender-based crimes are among the gravest under the Rome Statute and investigating and prosecuting such crimes is a key priority for the Office.
“The Policy Paper provides a foundation which we can and must all build on to ensure that we deal effectively with the scourge of sexual and gender-based crimes,” said the Prosecutor. “We will spare no effort to bring accountability for these crimes and in so doing, contribute to deterring the commission of such heinous crimes in the future. As a matter of policy, the Office will systematically include relevant charges in its cases on the basis of evidence of criminality. The 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.”
The Policy Paper was promulgated following a process of extensive consultations, gathering input from staff in the Office, the Prosecutor’s Special Gender Advisor, as well as a wide-range of other sources, including States Parties, international organisations, civil society, academia and individual experts.
“Each of us has a role to play. It is hoped that the Policy will also serve as a guide to national authorities in the exercise of their primary jurisdiction to hold perpetrators accountable for these crimes. United in our efforts, we can end the silence that has surrounded sexual and gender-based crimes for far too long and give victims the ultimate tool in in combatting such crimes: a voice backed by the force of the law,” said Prosecutor Bensouda.
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