Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


Elena Gekker


The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 with the explicit goal of prosecuting some of the world's greatest violations of international law. In its inception, the ICC embraced legal principles established by other ad hoc tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, although in the ten years of its existence, it has yet to apply those accepted rules. And while accepting the elements rape and sexual slavery by the ICC has cemented those principles in the first international criminal court of its kind, other issues, such as forced marriage, have been ignored. This Note explores the history and progression the of the standards of international prosecution of rape sexual slavery as they have evolved into being codified by the ICC and contend that such codification remains necessary to promote the standardization of prosecution of sexual crimes, to provide the victims of these atrocities with tangible results and faith in the international legal system, and to continue on the path of establishing rape and sexual violence as distinct jus cogens norms. This Note then discusses the recent evolution and prosecution of the crime of forced marriage and recommends that forced marriage should be enumerated as a particular crime under sexual slavery as opposed to being recognized as a distinct crime on its own.