Women have become the most affected civilian group in armed conflicts, and they constitute the majority of all victims of sexual violence. A good example of such violence is what women have suffered in Iraq under totalitarian regimes, foreign occupation and now armed insurgency. There has been an increase in the number of armed groups on the one hand, and the exposure of women to gender-based violence on the other. During armed conflicts special international protections have been devised to civil groups. However, the provisions of international law relating to conflict situations did not address insurgent groups unless they succeeded in establishing a functioning administration. The existing framework is ineffectual in failed states or insurgencies, where (among numerous crimes) sexual violence against women for religion reasons may be perpetrated. International law did not deal with such groups or hold them liable to pay reparation to victims, . The question arises of whether the current setup of international law is effective in the protection of the women in times of internal armed conflicts. This research analyses how international law addresses the problem of sexual violence during armed conflicts, with particular focus on the Geneva Convention 1949 and its two Additional Protocols as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The responsibility for sexual violence during armed conflicts under international law is discussed. This research holds that it is necessary to hold armed groups responsible for reparations due to victims of sexual violence, particularly when states lose control over the situations.
Zainab Waheed Dahham, University of Huddersfield, UK