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Colombia - Armed conflict - Sexual and gender-based violence

Sexual violence in the Colombian conflict

A matter for the International Criminal Court

Colombia - Armed conflict - Sexual and gender-based violence

Sexual violence in the Colombian conflict

A matter for the International Criminal Court

In 2014, an average of two women were raped every three days in the course of the armed conflict in Colombia. Yet to date there have been very few convictions for sexual violence – and no convictions at all in cases in which the perpetrator was a member of the armed forces.

Case

By failing to act, the Colombian state is denying women the protection against sexualized crimes and access to justice that it is obliged to guarantee under national and international law. In response, ECCHR together with the Colombian organizations Sisma Mujer and Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR), has submitted a criminal complaint (communication) against Colombia to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The organizations are calling on the court’s prosecution authorities to open investigations against suspects in Colombia.

Context

In compiling the communication, ECCHR, Sisma and CCAJAR examined 36 representative cases of sexual violence that occurred between 2002 and 2011. Their conclusion: sexual assaults carried out in the course of the armed conflict are not isolated incidents but instead form part of the military strategy and are crimes against humanity. The military enjoy almost total impunity.

The organizations are calling on the ICC prosecution authorities to comply with the standards set out by the court itself; in a 2014 policy paper the court declared it would be adopting a gender perspective and gender analysis in all levels of its work. The three human rights organizations believe that investigations by the ICC could strengthen the peace process in Colombia.

Related Topics

  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Colombia
  • Crimes against humanity

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documents

glossary

Crimes against humanity are grave violations of international law carried out against a civilian population in a systematic or widespread way.
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A communication to the International Criminal Court provides prosecutors at the court with information on alleged or potential crimes.
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The International Criminal Court deals with core international crimes such as war crimes.
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Sexual violence is defined as a violent act of a sexual nature. It is the deliberate exertion of power over another person, not an act of lust.
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