Justice denied? Access to justice for victims of sexual violence

V-P-CD-E-01549.JPGIt’s really an honor to moderate this upcoming panel discussion: Justice denied? Access to justice for victims of sexual violence on September 11, 2019 at the ICRC Humanitarium. The event is free and open to all.

Sexual violence is recognised as a war crime in international law, but in reality few survivors ever see their attackers brought to justice. Weak rule of law, lack of legal recognition of the crime in many countries, lack of forensic evidence, lack of police response, and the risk of retaliation or stigma for survivors, all work together to prevent many from seeing the end of the long and winding road through the courts.

In winning the Nobel Prize with Daniel Mukwege, survivor Nadia Murad said, “The only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals”. But for the millions of survivors living in displacement, justice may be even more remote.

Sexual violence is highly prevalent in conflicts and disasters, including violence by intimate partners and by armed combatants. Men, boys and former child soldiers are also at risk. Accountability for this crime is key to ending the climate of impunity. While humanitarian organisations have emphasised providing medical and mental health care to survivors, supporting access to justice in humanitarian settings has been more challenging.

We will have three outstanding panelists with diverse experience. Cécile Aptel, Director, Policy, Strategy & Knowledge Department at the International Federation of the Red Cross, is a leading expert on international law and sexual violence, and she will help to frame the discussion about state obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. Tina Alai, formerly of Physicians for Human Rights, is now an independent Kenyan human rights lawyer who has worked extensively with survivors, forensic medical experts and courts and has deep expertise on the challenges with gathering evidence and bringing cases to court. Claude Maon, Legal Manager of MSF, can speak to the organization’s extensive experience with giving thousands of survivors in conflicts and emergencies the medical certificates they need to bring cases to court. Together, they have rich experience and insights into the realities of access to justice in diverse countries.

Please join us for this important discussion.

Date: September 11, 2019

Time: 18:30 – 20:00

Location: ICRC Humanitarium, 17 avenue de la paix, Geneva, Switzerland – map

Registration online here.


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