Gender Justice in Multilateral Negotiations: The Case of SGBV in the Rome Statute and in the ICC

  • Simone WisotzkiEmail author
Part of the Studien des Leibniz-Instituts Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung book series (SLIHSFK)


In the negotiations of the Rome Statute, the “gender battle” became synonymous for a series of justice conflicts concentrating on a norm to criminalize sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). The book chapter identifies the crucial justice conflicts during the negotiations that led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), analyzes their consequences for the way in which the SGBV norm was finally established by the Rome Statute, and concludes by asking how such conflicts have affected implementation efforts. Sexual gender-based violence has escaped sanctions at the international realm for a long time. Based on progress achieved during the war tribunals on Rwanda (ICTR) and Yugoslavia (ICTY), this finally changed with the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court (ICC). During the negotiations in Rome, civil society organizations relied on justice arguments in order to push for an individualization of sexual gender-based crimes. As feminist lawyers were not satisfied with the ways in which sexual violence had been defined in the statutes of the two war tribunals on Rwanda (ICTR) and Yugoslavia (ICTY), they now aimed at “doing justice” to the victims by seeking to widen the definition and pushing for forms of retributive justice. Some states were sympathetic to their positions and also supported stricter rules strengthening the individual rights of victims. Such efforts were met with resistance by other states which led to serious conflicts during the negotiations at Rome. In order to reach an agreement in spite of such justice conflicts, compromises were made which inhibit the implementation of ICC norms on behalf of the victims of sexual violence.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF/HSFK)Frankfurt am MainGermany

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