Monday, September 16, 2013

The Living Death: Prosecuting Rape as Torture Under International Law

Dana P. Stanton is a 2013 summa cum laude graduate of Albany Law School. She did her undergraduate work in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and she worked as an engineer for General Electric in the Operations Management Leadership Program.
During law school, Dana was an associate editor on the Albany Law Review, and she interned with the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic and the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, as well as with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York and the New York State Office of the Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau.
Dana is now an associate at the law firm of McNamee, Lochner, Titus and Williams in Albany, NY.
This paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s International Law of War and Crime Seminar.

The torture of men has traditionally been taken more seriously under international law than sexual violence against women.   As a consequence, wartime rape was not prosecuted in international tribunals until the late 1990s.
However, the physical and psychological harm to rape victims can be just as severe as the harm to torture victims. International tribunals have begun to bring rape within the realm of jus cogens norm by prosecuting rape as a form of torture.
Part I of the paper explains how rape was used as a weapon in war, and Part II discusses why rape was not prosecuted as a war crime until recently. Part III explains rape from the victims’ perspective and Part IV compares rape to torture. Parts V through VII explore the sexual violence in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the jurisprudence arising therefrom. Finally, Part VIII discusses the significance of jus cogens for international rape prosecutions.
To read the paper, open HERE.