Source: (2004) The George Washington University Law School Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper No. 104. August 26. Downloaded 19 October 2005.

For years, the Congo was wracked by internal strife. Currently, the country is undergoing a transition to a more democratic system. According to Naomi Cahn, among other acts of injustice and violence, tens of thousands of crimes of sexual violence were committed against Congolese women, girls, and babies during the prior period of internal conflict. As sexual violence is considered a war crime that can be prosecuted in international courts, what should be the response to those crimes in the Congo, especially in view of the transition? The possibilities include, as in other countries which experienced violence and transition, prosecution of perpetrators, a truth and reconciliation commission, a restorative justice approach, or other non-confrontational methods. These questions raise significant issues about the role and rule of law in conflict situations. Cahn explores all of this by looking at the conflict in the Congo, women’s status, sexual violence during the conflict, and possible responses to sexual violence.

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