Neglected Crimes: The Challenge of Raising Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Sexual and gender-based crimes have only recently begun to be treated as serious crimes in international law, and there are still many obstacles to their successful prosecution. This is especially true in the case of Cambodia, where trials against leading members of the Khmer Rouge are taking place before the special hybrid court set up for this purpose, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The difficulties facing those who attempt to hold the perpetrators of sexual and gender-based crimes under the Khmer Rouge regime accountable for their acts are formidable. First, in view of the sheer scope and magnitude of the Khmer Rouge’s violations of human rights, sexual and gender-based crimes are viewed by many in Cambodia as being of secondary importance; moreover, there is a widespread perception that the regime was highly moralistic and did not tolerate such crimes. Secondly, the jurisdiction of the ECCC has been interpreted in a restrictive way, posing problems for the prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes. Thirdly, the most widespread form of such crimes under the Khmer Rouge was the practice of forced marriage, which has not yet been codified as a crime under international law, which raises additional problems for the prosecution.
KeywordsSexual Violence Sexual Minority Rome Statute Trial Chamber Transitional Justice
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