Rape as a weapon of war: an analysis of the impunity of perpetrators of sexual violence in the DRC

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Koepp, Manon
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The use of rape as a weapon of war was only recently recognized as a military strategy, which aims to terrorize the population. Nowadays, the Democratic Republic of Congo regrettably stands out for having the higher rate of rape in the context of its armed conflict. Indeed, the numbers leave no room for doubt: this country has become “rape capital of the world” 1. This cruel phenomenon generates many questions, particularly with regard to the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. This last question constitutes the common thread of this thesis, during which we will discuss the legal challenges, as well as the reasons explaining the impunity of rapists. In an effort to capture the complexities of the phenomenon, this thesis addresses numerous aspects. Indeed, the stakes of rape as a weapon of war, the legal framework, and the national geopolitical situation, constitute crucial points in order to have a full picture of this phenomenon. At the end of the research, some aspects emerged in the improvement of both the international and the national judicial system. Thus, investment in transitional justice, in the responsibility of military superiors, as well as in the protection and reparation of witnesses and victims, appear to be essentials.
Second semester University: University of Cyprus
rape, Democratic Republic of the Congo, armed conflict, sexual abuse, judicial system, transitional justice, military, impunity