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Mass Rape and the Concept of International Crime.

May, Larry
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In Carol A.L. Prager and Trudy Govier, Dilemmas of Reconciliation: Cases and Concepts. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Pp. 137-168.

International criminal law is currently faced with a defining moment: how to understand the truly international character of certain kinds of crime while providing an expanded forum for the prosecution of egregious harms in the world. I offer a resolution of this problem by arguing that unless there has been a complete breakdown of the rule of law in a particular country, international tribunals should only be concerned with prosecuting individuals for crimes that are group-based, in that the harms are directed against individuals because of their group memberships or where there is some kind of state (or state-like) involvement, and typically only where both of these factors are present. Isolated acts of rape should not normally be subjected to international prosecutions, but examples like the “comfort women” of the Second World War would be properly prosecuted internationally. Given that international criminal trials often intensify conflict among peoples, and only when there is a very clear reason to prosecute internationally rather than domestically. Reconciliation will often dictate that some forum for remedy other than international criminal prosecutions be pursued. (excerpt)


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