Researching Accountability


Accountability for Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings

The Long Road (cover)

Watch this brief video about the study.

The Human Rights Center has conducted a first-ever multi-country study of legal accountability sexual violence in countries marked by recent armed conflict and/or political violence. The Long Road: Accountability for Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings identifies key challenges and promising strategies for improving accountability in Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda was launched in August 2015.

A separate report focused on eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will be released in early 2016. 

We examined:

  1. Reporting of sexual violence and access to police and healthcare facilities during peace time as well as during conflict periods;
  2. Investigation of sexual violence including police capacity, documentation and evidence collection by healthcare workers, and the quality of coordination between sectors; and
  3. Prosecution of sexual violence cases including judicial and prosecutorial competence, the quality of evidence, and the availability of victim support / witness protection measures.
Kim Thuy Seelinger writes about strengthening accountability in  “Domestic accountability for sexual violence: The potential of specialized units in Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda” for the International Review of the Red Cross (September 2015) and “Uganda’s Case of Thomas Kwoyelo: Customary International Law on Trial” in California Law Review (April 2017)

Our research on accountability for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence is made possible by the generosity of the International Women’s Program of the Open Society Foundation, Humanity United, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act

SOAcoverOur in-depth examination of Kenya’s 2006 Sexual Offences Act culminated in an historic, cross-sectoral convening in May 2011. Nearly 100 key government and civil society actors from legal, health, community justice, and forensic fields met to discuss critical challenges and potential strategies to improve protection and care for survivors. The Workshop Reports provided a blueprint for meaningful law and policy reform in Kenya, as well as an anatomy of a Sexual Offences Act for other countries to consider. Read the report here.