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The treatment of gender-related violence within ICL is inextricably tied up with the recognition of women's rights as human rights, and the growing jurisprudence recognizing violence against women in non-armed conflict situations as human rights violations. Following from the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985 women's NGOs campaigned to have gender-based acts of violence against women recognized as abuses of human rights, a goal that was achieved at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. That Conference was held against the backdrop of the 'massive, organized and systematic detention and rape of women that were being committed only a few miles away in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Just weeks before the Vienna Conference the SC, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, had agreed to establish the ICTY with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Former Yugoslavia. In turn the Vienna Conference affirmed that: Violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. All violations of this kind, including in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced pregnancy, require a particularly effective response.


This material was originally published in The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice, edited by Antonio Cassese and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit