Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations

Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations:
This Year's Monitoring Projects on Gender-Related Crimes at the ICTR


In October and November, evidence of rape and other sexual violence was brought into evidence in the case of the Prosecutor vs. Bagambiki et al. following testimonies of two prosecution witnesses: LBI and LAM. Despite this evidence, the indictment in the case did not include charges of rape or sexual violence.

Members of the Coalition, including Barbara Bedont, Gaelle Breton-LeGoff, Anne Saris, Isabelle Solon-Helal and Jennifer Green, collaborated in writing an amicus curiae brief. In February 2001, the Coalition requested leave from the Court to file the amicus. The amicus asked the court to invite the prosecutor to consider amending the indictment by adding charges of rape and sexual violence. The Defence Council opposed this motion. However, after receiving the brief, the prosecution announced that they would add charges of sexual violence in the indictment. The Coalition was informed informally that the amicus brief influenced the decision.

The court refused to grant the leave to file the amicus curiae brief in part because the prosecution announced that it would be adding the sexual violence charges. The court also stated that it was denying leave because sexual violence was not a live issue in the case. On July 11, 2001, the Coalition sent a memo to the Registrar of the ICTR to have the court reconsider its reasoning in its decision to deny leave to file the amicus, and also as stated in the memo, because of a perceived misapplication by the Trial Chamber III of the relevenat standard inherent in Rule 74 of the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In the Coaltion's view, the court's decision establishes an incorrect standard under Rule 74 concerning the right of any friends of the court' to file an application for consideration by the relevant chamber.

Media Case:

Kate Wood prepared a memo on hate propaganda and sexual violence during genocide. Nicole Hogg with the McGill Working Group used that memo as a basis for an amicus curiae for the case of the Prosecutor v. Barayagwisa et al. They also incorporated sections from the Cyangugu amicus curiae.

At this point, the case is still in process and we are waiting for the reaction of the court on our Request for Reconsideration of the Decison on Amici's application to file an amicus curiae breif on the Cyangugu case.

Election of the judges:

At the first round of the election of judges for the ICTR and the ICTY, only one woman was nominated and elected as a judge. The Coalition then took action so that more women would be elected in the second round, following this action the ICTY elected eight temporary women judges.

Rape as Torture

The University of Toronto Working Group prepared a memo on rape as torture to be sent to the Rwandan Minister of Justice. That memo was not finalized but was useful in preparing the Cyangugu amicus curiae brief.

Certainly, advances have been made in recognizing women’s rights. The legal framework is increasingly responsive to the experiences of women and girls in conflict, especially in cases of sexual violence, as we have seen in the important work being carried out by the international criminal tribunals. But there remains much to be done, particularly to improve prevention and to combat impunity.

-- Kofi Annan
October 28, 2002