Sexualized violence is considered a war crime and a crime against humanity under international criminal law. In practice, however, the prevalence and magnitude of these crimes is not reflected in trials and court judgments. Gender-specific discrimination is one of the root causes of sexualized violence, as well as the reason why there are often no legal consequences for such crimes.
The fight against the silence, the downplaying and the impunity surrounding sexualized violence has been an important part of ECCHR's work since 2010. To date, our focus has been on cases occurring in armed conflicts, in which rape, sexual assault and slavery are often part of the military and state strategy to repress the civilian population.
Colonia Dignidad, founded by a German named Paul Schäfer in 1961, was a fortress-like German settlement in central Chile where grave human rights violations were committed over several decades. The former doctor of the Colonia Dignidad, Hartmut Hopp, should face prison in Germany.
The Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart handed down convictions in the trial of two Rwandan leaders of the Hutu militia group FDLR, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni. The FDLR are alleged to have utilized sexualized violence against the Congolese civilian population and to have in numerous cases plundered, killed and inflicted grievous bodily injuries.
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 has submitted a criminal complaint against Colombia to the International Criminal Court.
On behalf of 28 survivors of sexual slavery during Second World War in the Philippines, ECCHR and CenterLaw submitted a communication to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. They call for the acknowledgement of the crimes and reparations.
Ever since the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, issues of the criminal accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the ongoing sexualized violence against women have been part of ECCHR's work.
Sri Lanka must comply with its international obligations in the fight against gender-based discrimination. The country should bring its law in line with the UN Convention on Women.
The Russian Federation fails to investigate, prosecute and punish serious violations of women's human rights, particularly in response of allegations of violence regarding adherence to a campaign to enforce an Islamic dress code.