17th October 2018
What do gendered identities in wartime mean for femininity in armed conflict?
In her latest book, International Criminal Law and Sexual Violence against Women, Dr. Daniela Nadj discusses the prosecution of wartime sexual violence in international criminal tribunals and asks what the juridicalisation of gender-based violence signifies for women. In an era where feminism seems to have made significant strides in international law, Dr. Nadj explores the reality of gender justice and equality in wartime, and whether the law reflects these justly.
Two major legal developments underpin this book: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1992 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. This book reveals that both tribunals frame women as either victims or as mothers, disregarding the possibility that they might exercise resistance. Dr. Nadj criticizes the self-contained nature of criminal law, which, she argues, is too narrow to capture the multi-dimensional nature of female identity.
Using witness testimonies of nurses, journalists, bar owners and administrators, the book discusses the frequently unheard voice of women living through wartime, distancing them from the misogynistic perspective that focuses too much on their sexuality. “There is always resistance in these scenarios and we need to give voice to these women too,” argued Dr Nadj at her recent book launch. “The language of international criminal law can only begin to fully reflect women’s multiple wartime identities if it recaptures female agency, rather than if it assumes women in wartime to inevitably be victims.”
A must-read for scholars, students, researchers and practitioners involved in research on gender studies, feminism, international law or socio-legal studies. International Criminal Law and Sexual Violence against Women is now currently available.
International Criminal Law and Sexual Violence against Women is available via
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About the Author:
Dr. Daniela Nadj is a Lecturer in Public Law, having joined the Law Department in September 2013. She is also the Course Convenor in Administrative Law. Her principal research interests lie in the fields of international criminal law, international human rights, feminist legal theory and armed conflict. She has published in the area of international wartime sexual violence jurisprudence exploring the impact of the criminalisation of gender-based violence on women in the current political and legal moment.