A criminal tribunal and a wide-ranging reparation programme is necessary for the victims of sexual violence and torture in Iraq
The frequency and extreme nature of sexual violence committed in Iraq, primarily by the self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from 2014 onwards, has shocked the international community. Now, four years later, victory over ISIL has been proclaimed but addressing past atrocities and their consequences has barely begun. There is a wide discrepancy between Iraq’s human rights obligations, stressed by the United Nations (UN), and the reality on the ground, shaped by the Iraqi authorities. The present paper aims to highlight this discrepancy by providing an overview of the crimes committed, their qualification under international law, and the efforts of Iraqi authorities to punish those responsible. It will also discuss legal frameworks and the role of the UN, before positing some possible solutions. Object of the inquiry. The primary object of this inquiry is the conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) that has taken place in Iraq since 2014. The term CRSV is used in the international discourse to designate sexual violence occurring during or following armed conflict. UN bodies have set a gravity threshold for defining CRSV—incidents or patterns of acts of sexual violence such as “rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity” (UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, 2011, p. 3)
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