Domesticating International Sexual Violence Crimes in National Legal Systems

The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC) Ms. Pramila Patten announced the publication of Model Legislative Provisions and Guidance on the Investigation and Prosecution on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (Model Legislative Provisions) on 18 June 2021.

Watch the recording of the event on UN Web TV. The event starts at minute 09:00 of the recording. PJI Co-Founder Maxine Marcus’s speech begins at minute 48:04.

Victims and survivors deserve justice close to home; justice which involves and includes them; justice which empowers rather than sacrifices them; justice which honours their courage and respects their constraints;  justice which considers their needs as a core consideration rather than an afterthought; justice which uplifts them rather than further victimising them; justice which paves the path for other victims to come forward; justice which is accessible, tangible, visible, and transformative. 

PJI drafted these Model Legislative Provisions under the auspices of the SRSG-SVC, and we hope these models and guidance will make accountability possible for a wider variety of sexual violence crimes in domestic jurisdictions around the world. 

At the event, the Office of the SRSG-SVC announced a Framework for Cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), joining forces on several fronts, including in promoting the adoption and implementation of national legislation to promote and protect the rights of women, girls, men, and boys affected by, or at risk of, conflict-related sexual violence; providing technical support to member national parliaments in drafting or revising domestic legislation aimed at ensuring accountability for conflict-related sexual violence; and raising awareness on the importance of empowering victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and other grave crimes through survivor-centred justice. 

Victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence have a right to access justice wherever they live.  These Model Legislative Provisions represent the highest standard of criminal law and procedure, a robust legal and procedural framework in compliance with international norms and obligations. Drawn from a broad array of national legislation from 28 states in the Global North and Global South, the Model Provisions incorporate and go beyond the provisions of the Rome Statute, incorporating provisions emerging from, and consistent with, customary international law.

Bottom line: You can only have accountability if you have a proper legal framework. These Model Provisions will make accountability possible for a wider variety of sexual violence crimes in domestic jurisdictions.

PJI is proud of this publication on which Maxine Marcus was lead author, Kathleen Roberts was co-author, and Marie Audrey Girard provided substantial support in research, analysis, and drafting. In addition, this team of three could not have accomplished so much without the expert review and input of more than twenty scholars, activists, survivors, and practitioners, each of whom generously donated their time and talent to review and advise on early drafts. A heartfelt thanks to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, Cecilia Moran Santos, Evan Wallach, Gregory Gordon, Jacqueline Moudeina, John Ralston, Joseph Rikhof, Kate McIntosh, Kim Seelinger, Laurel Fletcher, Luc Walleyn, Niamh Hayes, Nushin Sarkarati, Olympia Bekou, Patricia Sellers, Reed Brody, Suleiman Bolaleh, Tyler Gianni, SEMA Survivor Coordinators from Sudan and Zimbabwe, Valerie Oosterveld, Zenaida Velasquez, and several others who opted to be anonymous.

Read the SRSG SVC and IPU Concept Note for the Model Legislative Provisions Launch Event here.

Read more about Model Legislative Provisions and Guidance with Model Indictment on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.