Statement: 25 November 2017

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women


On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we are once again reminded that despite widespread condemnation and growing efforts to eliminate it, abhorrent acts of violence continue to be a reality for countless women and girls throughout the world. Particularly vulnerable in times of conflict, women and girls are too often the victims of egregious sexual crimes.   

Moreover, while the horrors and suffering of war are felt by entire communities, prevailing inequalities exacerbate these consequences for women and girls. In addition to physical and psychological scars, conflict intensifies their vulnerability to poverty as they endure inadequate access to education, health services and welfare, fewer economic opportunities, as well as diminished political participation.   

The need to curb reprehensible crimes perpetrated against women and girls in times of conflict, and to change the culture of impunity in which they thrive, has been an intrinsic focus of my Office at the International Criminal Court.   

We recognise that an important aspect of challenging the culture of discrimination that allows such crimes, including sexual and gender-based crimes, to prevail is the effective investigation and prosecution of those most responsible for such heinous crimes. 

Today, as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in strict accordance with the Court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, and on the strength of my Office's Policy on Sexual and Gender-based Crimes and on Children, I reiterate my commitment, as well as that of my Office, to do everything we can, within our mandate and means, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of grave crimes against women and children. We count on the support of the Court's States Parties and the internationality community in the discharge of our mandate.   

We must address reprehensible crimes perpetrated against women and girls in times of conflict. It is a collective responsibility. Our humanity demands it. 

Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]