Doris Buss of Carleton has posted this paper on SSRN: Performing Legal Order: Some Feminist Thoughts on International Criminal Law (August 18, 2011). International Criminal Law Review, Vol. 11, pp. 409-423, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1911920
The Abstract is short but informative. .
This article argues that international criminal law, like its domestic counterpart, is a contradictory site for feminist activism. While it offers some important tools for recognising, naming, and giving credence to the realities of women’s lives in times of conflict, international criminal law is also a limited and limiting arena for feminist-inspired social change. My objective in this article is to highlight some of those limitations, not to counsel against continuing feminist activism, but to start a conversation about some of the costs, risks and implications for feminist strategy in continuing to work within the structures of international criminal law.
The Paper is a think piece of about 16 pages and very interesting. One of her approaches is to:
….focus …on the performative aspects of international criminal justice: the ways in which the trial and the act of rendering judgement are moments of high drama in which meanings of order and disorder, legality and criminality, us and them are performed. Some of the strengths and limitations of international criminal law for feminists, I suggest, are most evident in the performative or expressive dimension of international criminal law.
York colleague and IFLS member Annie Bunting, along with York’s Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, and various international partners, has put together a great conference on Forced Marriage in Conflict Situations – if you will be in Freetown, Sierra Leone Feb 24-26.
Click here for the Conference Website.
Bringing together historians of slavery and women’s human rights scholars, survivor groups, local NGOs, officials and leading academics and activists working on the issue, the conference explores the phenomenon of forced marriage and enslavement from comparative and historical perspectives. During conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda, women were kidnapped, raped and forced into “marriages” with combatants. The Special Court for Sierra Leone recently found such gender violations to constitute a new crime against humanity of “forced marriage” as opposed to “sexual slavery”. The international expert group will explore the merits of prosecuting those responsible for forced marriage under the headings of “sexual slavery”, “forced marriage” or “enslavement”. It will also focus on the historical antecedents of servile marriage and enslavement of women.
More reading on the subject? You can find Prof. Bunting’s brief note “Sexual Slavery or “Forced Marriage” in Conflict Zones – A Legal Distinction with Ramifications” here. You might also be interested in these posts from the amazing intlawgrrls blog:
You might also like the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice: “The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice is an international women’s human rights organization advocating for gender-inclusive justice and working towards an effective and independent International Criminal Court (ICC).” They have a great set of updates and newsletters that you can sign up to receive, e.g. this. They also publish a gender report card which includes some reporting about charges of/testimony about sexual slavery (see pp58, 73, 88, etc).