Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session A5 1: Gendered Approaches to Genocide
Friday, 23/July/2021:
12:00pm - 1:30pm

Session Chair: Caroline Bennett, Victoria University of Wellington, United Kingdom
Location: Room 1


The fight for justice of indigenous women in the aftermath of the Guatemalan genocide: How digital sources provide them information, evidence and consolation

Mariana Lara Palacios

Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven), Belgium

At the centre of the aftermath of the Guatemalan genocide, the result of a civil war of thirty six years, are the thousands of indigenous women who were left without means of survival as the men of the rural villages seized by the army were massacred and dumped in clandestine pits. They found themselves living amongst communities that did not understand that they were also victims of rape and sexual slavery from the military. They were instead stigmatized but never gave up in their search for answers to what occurred to them and their family members who were murdered or disappeared. The path to find justice since then has been tortuous as the country resists to deal with a past marked by massive human rights violations and impunity but also racism against its large indigenous population. Indigenous women learned in time to organize themselves and with the help of organizations they have achieved already successful outcomes (e.g. the cases of former general José Efraín Ríos-Montt related to genocide and crimes against humanity, and “Sepur Zarco” involving the sexual abuse and slavery of indigenous women).

This paper will analyse the ways indigenous women are trying to build cases before the criminal courts in Guatemala in order to seek justice and claim reparations. It focuses on two specific aspects, namely the types of sources mobilised (including digital and forensic sources), and the models of organisation applied (including the assistance from civil society organisations). It will draw conclusions on the strengths and weaknesses of these strategies, and provide recommendations for research, policies and practices related to post-conflict justice contexts.

Sexual Crimes and Genocide in the Digital Age with Special Attention to Southeast Asia

Erika Miyamoto

University of Barcelona, Spain

Mass atrocities have occurred since ancient time and sexual violence have inevitably correlated with those events. However, it was only after the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the gravity of sexual crimes was considered in international field. Whilst testimonies of witnesses and victims have played significant role in both tribunals, the other forms of evidence were provided such as satellite imagery, forensic anthropology and radio broadcasts. Apart from Bosnian and Rwandan Genocide, South East Asia has also been considerably affected. For instance, there occurred Indonesian genocide from 1965 to 1966, Cambodian Genocide from 1975 to 1979 and, most recently, Myanmar’s genocide against Rohingya from 2016 to present.

Nowadays, it has been gradually recognised that rape and sexual violence can be used as a weapon of war or genocide. However, in the recent trials at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the integrated investigation on the sexual crimes perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime was not prioritized, in spite of plenty of evidence. As for the Rohingya Genocide, rape has been used as a part of the genocidal campaign. In this case, the analysis of satellite imagery has revealed destruction of a number of their villages and contributed to the issue of the Report of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar by the United Nations in 2018. Recently, two Myanmar soldiers have confessed to mass killing and rape in video testimony, which could be provided as evidence in the international criminal court (ICC).

Thus, this research will analyse the correlation between sexual violence and genocide with special attention to Indonesian genocide, Cambodian Genocide and Rohingya Genocide and examine how the digital technology can promote justice for the victims of sexual crimes.

(Re-) Gendering genocide: Sexual violence against men in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Anna Gopsill

School of Advanced Study, University of London, Norway

Over the past two decades, scholarly research on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) has steadily grown. Despite this, gaps remain. Significantly, while there is a strong foundation of research on female victims of CRSV, research on male victims is growing but still lags behind. In the Bosnian context, women have been widely recognised as victims of genocidal sexual violence during the 1992 to 1995 war, while male victims of sexual violence often fall under the legal category of torture or crimes against humanity. This is despite a large amount of evidence indicating that men were victims of sexual violence in the conflict.

This paper first consolidates existing scholarship on sexual violence against men in Bosnia-Herzegovina under two main themes: typology of sexual violence and transitional mechanisms for male victims. In so doing, the paper addresses the state of the art of scholarship on sexual violence and indicates avenues for future research. The paper then turns to judgements from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to analyse how male victims of sexual violence were approached and addressed by the tribunal. Broadly, the paper examines the structural issues facing male victims of conflict related sexual violence in achieving justice, through the lens of the ICTY, and suggests a theoretical framework for the further inclusion of male victims into narratives of gender and genocide.