Thursday, September 15, 2011

Database on Gender & ICL

The War Crimes Research Office and the Women and International Law Program at American University Washington College of Law announce the launch of the Gender Jurisprudence Collections, an online research tool that allows judges, lawyers, and researchers to search the jurisprudence of eleven international/ized criminal courts and tribunals for documents containing information regarding the prosecution of crimes involving sexual and gender-based violence.
Reviewers have analyzed and catalogued more than 17,000 documents from the Jurisprudence Collections of the War Crimes Research Office, for which I serve as Director. Reviewers have noted, for example, when evidence of sexual or gender-based violence appears in the record, when sexual or gender-based violence charges are brought, dropped, or dismissed, or when a defendant is tried for a crime of sexual or gender-based violence. The Gender Jurisprudence Collections features keyword- and targeted-search fields, which eliminate the need to sift through irrelevant documents when conducting research on the rapidly developing jurisprudence in these bodies.
The database was created, with support from the Open Society Institute’s International Women’s Program, in response to requests by experts in the fields of gender and international criminal law who noted that researching the treatment of sexual and gender-based violence by the international tribunals was unduly difficult because of the absence of a central database of materials related to the investigation and prosecution of such cases.
Judge Patricia Whalen of the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has called the creation of the Gender Jurisprudence Collections “a great accomplishment,” while former Legal Advisor on Gender Issues at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Patricia Viseur Sellers has noted that the GJC promises to be “a fabulous tool” that she “can’t wait to use and see used by others.”
In the future, the Gender Jurisprudence Collections will feature digests of key documents, which will highlight the facts, allegations, and other factors affecting the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence. The project website will in the future also feature space for expert commentaries and discussion.
To access the Gender Jurisprudence Collections and learn more about the project, please visit our site. Please send any questions, comments, or suggestions to Alison Plenge (right), Jurisprudence Collections Coordinator, at

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