Sunday, March 16, 2008

Forced marriage: now a crime against humanity

Radio Netherlands' fantastic The State We're In reported on an intriguing story that I had not been aware of. The Special Court for Sierra Leone has ruled that forced marriage is now a crime against humanity.

The Special Court's chief prosecutor David Crane explained, "The main thing we hope to accomplish is to tell their story and have this established as a matter of law that these crimes were committed and that individuals were responsible. We hope to establish a precedent and indeed a deterrent to others, against committing the same kind of crimes."

This analysis by the Global Policy Forum points out that forced marriage by Sierra Leone rebels was not merely part of some cultural custom, not that this would excuse the practice in anyway. But rather, kidnaping women and forcing them to marry, raping them repeatedly and forcing them to bear children was an established part of the rebels' strategy.

Women were threatened with death if they tried to escape, Crane said, and some were scarred with the initials "RUF" cut into their bodies, putting the women further at risk if they were captured by government soldiers or allied militia, who would think they were rebels.

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At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Random African said...

Kidnapping+rape+enslavement is not enough ?

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Please bear in mind this blog's policy on commenting

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Random African said...

hmmm.. Which guideline did I break ?

is my other comment. Isnt that consistent ?

Actually, I just realized there was another
. But that was during the time Blogger would require OpenID. So I'll stick to Random African if you don't mind.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Brian said...

RA: Oh no, it wasn't directed at you. Someone tried to leave an anonymous, unsigned comment which I rejected.

Sorry for the confusion.


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