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Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda

Posted by African Press International on March 9, 2014

Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, providing an update on the ICC-OTP Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes

Since assuming my mandate as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), I have made the need to devise and implement a policy on sexual violence and gender based crimes an Office priority. To this end, 7 February 2014, my Office published a Draft Policy Paper for public comment. I am thrilled and encouraged by the positive and overwhelming public response we have received from various entities, including States, international institutions, civil society, academia and individuals and experts around the world. This once again demonstrates the international commitment and support behind the fight against impunity for sexual violence and gender based crimes.

As we mark International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, I would like to reiterate that ending impunity for these heinous crimes is a goal that none of us can attain alone: our collective efforts and dedication is the only way we can send a clear, strong and consistent message that in this new century, acts of sexual and gender violence against women, men and children constitute serious crimes, the punishment of which we shall relentlessly pursue at both national, regional and international levels.

The mandate of my Office is to address such acts if they amount to international crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC, namely, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Other instances of sexual violence and gender-based criminality deserve to be equally exposed, recognised and comprehensively addressed by national authorities and other relevant actors.

The implementation of the aforementioned policy paper, as finalised, will help our collective efforts to advance justice and to respond to the urgent needs expressed by victims of all forms of sexual violence and gender-based crimes for recognition and accountability. Furthermore, we hope that this policy paper will provide guidance and clarity regarding the on-going and future investigations and prosecutions of these crimes for all relevant actors.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have provided us with their invaluable input on the policy paper. My Office is working assiduously to review, consider, and incorporate your suggestions, as appropriate, over the coming weeks. A final version of the policy paper will be made public in the near future.

We owe a duty to humanity to eradicate sexual violence and gender based crimes, and to erase them from the realm of the possible, once and for all. Together, we can successfully fulfil that pledge.

  • Source: Office of the Prosecutor

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