Rape During War: It's Historical and Legal Evolution as a Crime Against Humanity

Christopher W. Mullins, University of Northern Iowa

From the earliest recorded military histories, sexual assault has been one of many tools of terror used by an army's soldiers against a newly conqured (or in the process of becoming conqured) population. For the first time in history such acts have formed the basis for a set of war crimes charges: the World Court in the Hague has defined systematic sexual assault as a prosecutable Crime against Humanity in reference to the Kosovo tribunals. This paper will examine the ideological foundations and on-the-ground realities of the practice, the legal position which has been taken by the World Court in reference to the on-going Kosovo tribunals and explore how this specific crime fits into the current mandate of the International Criminal Court.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006