The Appeals Chamber is convinced that society’s disapproval of the forceful abduction and use of women and girls as forced conjugal partners as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population is adequately reflected by recognizing that such conduct is criminal and that it constitutes an “Other Inhumane Act” capable of incurring individual criminal responsibility in international law. (¶202).
The judgment paves the way for prosecutions for forced marriage before the International Criminal Court, which is considering crimes arising out of conflicts in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that involved the extensive practice of forced marriage. (In Northern Uganda, for example, studies suggest that one in six young girls were kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army). Article 7(g) of the ICC Statute contains an expansive list of crime of sexual violence that includes
Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.Its “Other Inhumane Acts” clause at Article 7(k) is formulated as
Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.These formulations lend themselves to the same reasoning employed by the SCSL. What matters now is prosecutorial priorities. Let's hope that Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Argentina), the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, finds inspiration in his colleagues practising before the Special Court.