IRRC No. 894

Sexual violence in armed conflicts: A violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law

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Sexual violence is prevalent in contemporary armed conflicts. International humanitarian law and human rights law absolutely prohibit all forms of sexual violence at all times and against anyone; international criminal law moreover provides for the individual criminal responsibility of sexual crimes’ perpetrators. These three bodies of law importantly reinforce each other in this field. The discrepancy between the facts on the ground and the law is a matter of concern that cannot be explained by potential legal gaps or uncertainties. What is needed is to find new ways of improving implementation for existing laws at the domestic and international levels.

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More about Current debates on IHL, How does law protect in war?, International Review of the Red Cross, Law and policy platform, IHL and human rights, Ad hoc tribunals, Generating respect for the law, Protected persons, Addressing sexual violence, Building respect for the law

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