Improving Accountability

We improve accountability for conflict-related sexual violence by conducting research, providing technical assistance on war crimes cases in international and national courts, and helping to develop global guidance on investigation and prosecution of these complex crimes. Our current projects are based on years of foundational research conducted between 2011-2015.

Handbook for the Investigation, Prosecution, and Adjudication of SGBV Crimes in Uganda

After participating in our multi-country research on domestic accountability for conflict-related sexual violence (2011-2015), African colleagues from law enforcement, the military, and judiciaries asked us to help distill global guidance on investigating conflict-related sexual violence into practice tools they could use in their home jurisdictions.

So we are starting in Uganda. With Ugandan prosecutors, police, military, judges, and healthcare workers, we are developing a cross-sectoral handbook on SGBV investigation, prosecution, and victim support – including in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We will create a resource that is easily adapted throughout the Great Lakes Region.

SGBV as an International Crime: A Consolidated Online Resource

To properly charge and adjudicate sexual and gender-based violence as a war crime or crime against humanity, it is crucial to know when different forms of SGBV emerged as violations of international criminal law. Currently, there is no resource that brings all SGBV-related jurisprudence from the international, hybrid, and national courts together in one place for easy reference. We are now building this essential tool with a team of world experts. It will be accessible to both international scholars and local practitioners working in internet-limited settings.

 

Trainings and technical assistance for national actors

We are often invited to provide technical assistance to local investigators, prosecutors, and judges who are taking on cases involving sexual violence as war crimes or crimes against humanity—often for the first time in their national systems. Sometimes, we help prosecutors and judges properly charge or evaluate evidence of conflict-related sexual violence, as in the trial of Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad. With international experts, we drafted an amicus curiae brief to clarify ways in which evidence of sexual violence could be charged.  In May 2016, Habré was convicted of crimes including rape and sexual slavery.

Amicus Curiae Brief, Hissène Habré Case

Demande, Mémoire d’Amicus Curiae, Violence Sexuelle, Procès Hissène Habré

 

Other times, we are asked to train ground-level investigators in documenting these sensitive and stigmatized crimes or protect victims and witnesses. Recently, we have worked with partners like the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Asser Institute and Cassese Initiative, and the Wayamo Foundation to support investigators, lawyers, and judges from Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Central African Republic.