Prevention and criminal repression of rape and other forms of sexual violence during armed conflicts

11 March 2015

Rape and other forms of sexual violence cause physical and psychological harm to their victims (women, girls, men and boys) and have a direct impact on their families and communities. Rape and other forms of sexual violence, when committed in the context of an armed conflict either international or non-international, constitute violations of international humanitarian law (IHL).

In line with their obligation to respect and ensure respect for IHL, States must prevent and criminalize rape and other forms of sexual violence in their domestic legal systems. States also have an obligation to investigate and prosecute or, as applicable, to extradite authors of such crimes, and to ensure that victims have access to health care, justice, and reparations. International criminal law provides criminalization and a basis for jurisdiction at the international level.

Prevention and criminal repression of rape and other forms of sexual violence during armed conflicts