Africa: sexual and gender based violence, fair trial rights and the rights of victims

The ICJ has released a paper reflecting discussions on the implementation of international law and standards on sexual and gender based violence within the context of fair trial standards.

The discussions took place at an ICJ organized regional colloquium event, which took place in Swaziland in July 2015, attended by judges, lawyers, academics and other human rights defenders from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The theme of sexual and gender based violence in the context of fair trial standards focus attention on one of the prevalent challenges faced by women human rights defenders when seeking to use law and justice systems, and the ways in which laws and justice institutions may hamper or undermine their work as defenders.

Sexual and gender based violence is a persistent and universal problem that occurs globally across all geographical regions and social strata.

Yet, despite its pervasiveness gender based violence does not get the attention called for by the extent of the problem.

Participants identified a number of issues in the way the problem of sexual and gender based violence has been addressed and in how domestic legislation designed to combat the problem has been implemented.

Participants made a number of recommendations around the following areas:

  • Balancing the rights of victims and accused at trial;
  • Protecting the rights of children and other vulnerable victims at trial;
  • Implementing international standards on sexual and gender based violence;
  • National legislation on sexual and gender based violence;
  • Cross-sector collaboration;
  • Changing cultural attitudes; and
  • Applying a gender balanced perspective.

Africa-Sexual and gender based violence-Publication-Thematic report-2015-ENG (full report in PDF)

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