Severing the Next Generation: Sexual Violence in Genocide

Authors: Arsiné Grigoryan Published date: 15-07-2015 Status: Under Review

Genocide is the intent to destroy a particular group. Indeed, systematic mass murder is the most obvious way this intent materializes. Rape, while not readily apparent, is also an effective technique for perpetrators to execute genocide. During such a campaign, the targeted population is brutally tortured and murdered; however women, having a unique ability to carry the next generation, are strategically and perversely taken advantage of. The criminals responsible for such heinous acts are either not tried, or, even if they do stand trial, are held accountable for sexual violence, but not the genocide intent that motivates the rape. Sexual violence in the context of genocide is difficult to prosecute. While international laws have evolved over the years, they do not specifically identify how certain criminal acts fall under genocidal rape, making it problematic to determine liability. International courts and tribunals have struggled with defining rape as a tool of genocide. This article proposes a solution: an eight-factor balancing test that helps determine when a particular act of sexual violence crosses the line into genocide. The majority of these factors are drawn from international court cases as well as a famous psychological experiment.

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