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Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War - 17 Fold Increase - Crimes Against Humanity

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Headlined to H3 4/17/10

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Rape has been used as a weapon of war in Dr Congo -- DR Congo gang rape crisis 'spreading', new study says, BBC, 15 April 2010. [2]

Researchersfrom Harvard Universityin the US examined more than 4,000 cases of sexual assault from 2004 to 2008 and discovered that the number of rapes carried out by civilians had increased 17-fold. [3]

"The Darfur Crisis has been described as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. By the end of 2004, there were an estimated two million people affected by continued armed conflict and violence against civilians." [4] The Lancet notes conflict dynamics such as changing displacement and causes of deaths estimated the excess number of deaths to be approximately 300,000. Although violence was the main cause of death during 2004, diseases have been the cause of most deaths since 2005, with displaced populations being the most susceptible. Any reduction in humanitarian assistance could lead to worsening mortality rates, as was the case between mid 2006 and mid 2007. [5]

Joseph Kabila,the DRCongo president,has asked the UN to withdraw approximately 20,000 UN peacekeepers that have been deployed in the nation since 1999. -- Rapes 'surge' in DR Congo: Aljazeera, 15 April 2010.

On 15 April 2010, the Yale Genocide Studies Program [6] provided the platform for solution oriented analysis of the current humanitarian emergency in Darfur, moderated by Carina Ray, Professor of History at Fordham University, co-author of book "Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan." [7]

In turn, most coverage of the Darfur crisis provides only a cursory understanding of the historical, economic, political, sociological, and environmental factors that contribute to the conflict..... Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan remedies this situation by bringing together a diverse group of contributors from Sudan and beyond--scholars, activists, NGO and aid workers, members of government and the Darfurian rebel movements, and artists--who share a deep knowledge of the situation in Darfur and Sudan. Together, they provide the most comprehensive, balanced, and nuanced account yet published of the conflict's roots and the contemporary realities that shape the experiences of those living in the region. The cross-disciplinary dialogue fostered by Salah M. Hassan and Carina E. Ray yields a comprehensive understanding of the causes, manifestations, and implications of the ongoing conflict. -- Cornell University Press.

The importance of immediate coordinated international action was emphasized in regards to:
  • Comprehensive analysis [8] of humanitarian emergencies [9] for solution oriented strategic planning, stabilization and development.
  • Genocide or the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. [10]
  • Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [11] Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offences in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape and political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice." [12]
In the context of international law, it appears the atrocities in Darfurreach the threshold of crimes against humanity in the context of rape and political, racial, religious persecution and other inhumane acts as crimes associated with a widespread or systematic practice.


The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative [13] has published a number of program-specific publications on topics like the Burden of War, Crisis Mapping & Early Warning, Gender-based Violence in Conflict, and Humanitarian Effectiveness. These include:
  • Now, The World Is Without Me: An Investigation of Sexual Violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: By: Susan Bartels, Michael VanRooyen, Jennifer Leaning,Jennifer Scott, and Jocelyn Kelly, April 2010. [14]
  • Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women: By: Karen Hirschfeld and Jennifer Leaning, May 2009. [15]
  • Characterizing Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Profiles of Violence, Community Responses, and Implications for the Protection of Women: By Jocelyn Kelly, Michael VanRooyen, Jennifer Leaning, and Will Kragin, August 2009. [16]
  • Applied Technology to Crisis Mapping and Early Warning in Humanitarian Settings: By Patrick Meier and Jennifer Leaning, September 2009. [17]
  • Evidence-Based Peacekeeping: Exploring the Epidemiology of Lethal Violence in Darfur: By Alex de Waal, et. al., March 2010. [18]
  • New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: By Diane Coyle and Patrick Meier, UN Foundation-Vodafone Foundation, 2009. [19]
In the context of international criminal human rights violations, rape, [20] honor killings, [21] and female genital mutilation [22] are now a focus of the UN Human Rights Council [23] with a call for classification as Crimes Against Humanity [24]. International support for prosecution of these crimes has intensified with evidence collection, photo, video documentation, collaboration andvictim protection in every UN member country. [25]

Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict, presents evidence of horrific abuses against women and girls in every region of the country by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), as well as other rebel, government and international peacekeeping forces. -- We'll Kill You If You Cry: Human Rights Watch . [21]

The United Nations reported that as many as 5,000 women and girls worldwide were killed last year by family members, "many of them for the 'dishonor' of having been raped." -- In Turkey, 'Honor Killing' Follows Families to Cities: Washington Post Foreign Service, 8 August 2001. [26]

Rule 96 which governs the testimony of victims of sexual abuse and assault requires no corroboration of the victims testimony; consent is not a defense if the victim has been subjected to or threatened with violence, duress, detention or psychological oppression or if the victim reasonably believed another would be so subjected if she did not submit. - Patricia M. Wald, Dealing with Witnesses in War Crime Trials: Lessons from the Yugoslav Tribunal, Vol 5, p. 222.


References

1. Stephen Michael Apatow, Founder ofHumanitarian Resource Institute and the United Nations Arts Initiative. Url: http://www.apatow.org
2. DR Congo gang rape crisis 'spreading', new study says, BBC, 15 April 2010. Url: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8621394.stm
3. Rapes 'surge' in DR Congo: Aljazeera, 15 April 2010. Url: http://english.aljazeera.net//news/africa/2010/04/201041595648701631.html
4. Darfur: One Year On: World Health Organization, 2004. Url: http://www.emro.who.int/sudan/pdf/Darfur%20report%202004.pdf
5. Patterns of mortality rates in Darfur conflict: The Lancet, Volume 375, Issue 9711, Pages 294 - 300, 23 January 2010. Abstract (article is made available free of charge). Url: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2809%2961967-X/abstract
6. Yale Genocide Studies Program: Yale University. Url: http://www.yale.edu/gsp/
7. Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: Cornell University Press, Url: http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=5595
8. United Nations Agencies: World Map Url: http://www.un.org/aroundworld/map/
9: Countries and Emergencies: Reliefweb. Url: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc401?OpenForm
10. The Prosecution of International Crimes. A Practical Guide to Prosecuting ICC Crimes in Commonwealth States (2005). Url: http://vlex.com/vid/icc-crimes-43094182
11. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Url: http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/index.html
12. As quoted by Guy Horton in Dying Alive - A Legal Assessment of Human Rights Violations in Burma April 2005, co-Funded by The Netherlands Ministry for Development Co-Operation. See section "12.52 Crimes against humanity", Page 201. He references RSICC/C, Vol. 1 p. 360. Url: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Horton-2005.pdf
13. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative: Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/publications/hhi-program-publications
14. Now, The World Is Without Me: An Investigation of Sexual Violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: By: Susan Bartels, Michael VanRooyen, Jennifer Leaning,Jennifer Scott, and Jocelyn Kelly, April 2010. Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/images/resources/reports/hhi-oxfam%20drc%20gbv%20report.pdf
15. Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women: By: Karen Hirschfeld and Jennifer Leaning, May 2009. Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/images/resources/reports/nowhere_to_turn.pdf
16. Characterizing Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Profiles of Violence, Community Responses, and Implications for the 17. Protection of Women: By Jocelyn Kelly, Michael VanRooyen, Jennifer Leaning, and Will Kragin, August 2009. Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/images/resources/reports/final%20report%20for%20the%20open%20society%20institute%20-%201.pdf
17. Applied Technology to Crisis Mapping and Early Warning in Humanitarian Settings: By Patrick Meier and Jennifer Leaning, September 2009. Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/images/resources/reports/whitepapers_f_11.pdf
18. Evidence-Based Peacekeeping: Exploring the Epidemiology of Lethal Violence in Darfur: By Alex de Waal, et. al., March 2010. Url: http://www.hhi.harvard.edu/images/resources/reports/evidence-based%20peacekeeping_2.pdf
19. New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: By Diane Coyle and Patrick Meier, UN Foundation-Vodafone Foundation, 2009. Url: http://www.globalproblems-globalsolutions-files.org/pdf/UNF_tech/emergency_tech_report2009/Tech_EmergencyTechReport_full.pdf
20. A Landmark Ruling on Rape: New York Times. 24 February 2001. Url: http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/transcrime/articles/A%20Landmark%20Ruling%20on%20Rape.htm
21. We'll Kill You If You Cry: Human Rights Watch Url: http://hrw.org/reports/2003/sierraleone/sierleon0103.pdf
22. Female genital mutilation; World Health Organization. Url: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
23.UN Human Rights Council: Url: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/
24. H-II: Human Rights Reporting - Evidence Collection - Witness Protection: Humanitarian Resource Institute, Humanitarian Intervention Initiative. Url: http://www.unarts.org/news/nedasoltan_6232009.html
25. Interpol: Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity. Url: http://www.interpol.int/Public/CrimesAgainstHumanity/default.asp
26. In Turkey, 'Honor Killing' Follows Families to Cities: Washington Post Foreign Service, 8 August 2001. Url: http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/dilberk.htm

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Stephen Michael Apatow, Founder of Humanitarian Resource Institute and the United Nations Arts Initiative.
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