On 14 May 2019, the UN Drafting Committee of the International Law Commission (ILC) completed the second reading of the draft articles on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity. Key changes include the deletion of the definition of gender. Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice welcomes this deletion as a positive step in moving away from outdated definitions of gender.
In December 2018, Women’s Initiatives joined MADRE and other 581 organisations worldwide in a letter to ILC members urging them to remove the definition of gender from article 3(3) of the draft crimes against humanity convention or to replace it with the definition put forth by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court. ILC heard civil society’s call that the term “gender” does not only refer to “the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society”, as defined in article 7(3) of the Rome Statute.
A clearer definition of gender, such as the one used by OTP in its Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes [“Gender”, in accordance with article 7(3) of the Rome Statute of the ICC, refers to males and females, within the context of society. This definition acknowledges the social construction of gender, and the accompanying roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes assigned to women and men, and to girls and boys], leads to better understanding and higher chances of international criminal law practitioners investigating, prosecution and trying gender-based crimes.
Women’s Initiatives encourages you to learn more about gender and the draft articles on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity on MADRE’s website.
Screenshot retrieved from MADRE’s website on 12 June 2019