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ICC Prosecutor publishes comprehensive Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes

In Uncategorized by Robin

On 05 June 2014, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, announced the publication of the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes, the first ever produced by an international court or tribunal.

In publishing this historic Policy Paper, Prosecutor Bensouda said “The message to perpetrators and would-be perpetrators must be clear: sexual violence and gender-based crimes in conflict will neither be tolerated nor ignored at the ICC.”

According to today’s press statement by the OTP, the policy will guide the Office in its work in fighting impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes, and promote transparency and clarity, as well as predictability in the application of the legal framework of the Rome Statute to such crimes.

Prosecutor Bensouda said that “We will spare no effort to bring accountability for these crimes and in so doing, contribute to deterring the commission of such heinous crimes in the future. As a matter of policy, the Office will systematically include relevant charges in its cases on the basis of evidence of criminality.”

The Policy Paper was developed through an extensive drafting process involving staff within the OTP and the Special Advisor on Gender, as well as internal consultations with every division of the OTP and a review of the challenges and progress towards prosecuting gender-based crimes. These stages were followed by external consultations on the draft policy paper involving a wide range of stakeholders, including States Parties, international and national organisations, United Nations agencies, regional institutions, experts, academics and victim/survivor advocacy groups.

According to today’s press statement, the policy illustrates that the investigation and prosecution of these crimes is a key priority for the OTP and builds a framework that will enhance access to justice for victims through ensuring more effective investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes.

“Each of us has a role to play. It is hoped that the Policy will also serve as a guide to national authorities in the exercise of their primary jurisdiction to hold perpetrators accountable for these crimes. United in our efforts, we can end the silence that has surrounded sexual and gender-based crimes for far too long and give victims the ultimate tool in combating such crimes: a voice backed by the force of the law,” said Prosecutor Bensouda.

Read the Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes.

Read the Press Release by the Office of the Prosecutor.

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