The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court: Legacies and Legitimacy

The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court: Legacies and Legitimacy

The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court: Legacies and Legitimacy

The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court: Legacies and Legitimacy

Synopsis

In 1998, the Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court (ICC) emerged as a groundbreaking treaty both due to its codification of international criminal law and its recognition of the crimes committed against women in times of war and conflict. The ICC criminalized acts of rape, sexual slavery, and enforced pregnancy, amongst others, to provide the most advanced articulation ever of gender based violence under international law. However, thus far no scholarly book has analyzed whether or not the implementation of the ICC has been successful. The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court fills this intellectual gap, specifically examining the gender justice design features of the Rome Statute (the foundation of the ICC), and assessing the effectiveness of the statute's implementation in the first decade of the court's operation. Louise Chappell argues that although the ICC has provided mixed outcomes for gender justice, there have also been a number of important breakthroughs, particularly in regards to support for female judges. Meticulous and comprehensive, this book refines the notion of gender justice principles and adds a valuable, but as yet unrecognized, gender dimension to the burgeoning historical institutionalist approach to international relations. Chappell links feminist international relations literature with feminist institutionalism literature for the first time, thereby strengthening and adding to both fields. Ultimately, Chappell's analysis is an essential step towards attaining a greater degree of gender equality in the context of international law. The definitive volume on gender and the ICC, The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court is a valuable resource for students and scholars of international relations, international law, and human rights.

Excerpt

Gracing the cover of this book is Peter Paul Rubens’ The Consequences of War, which hangs in the Pitti Palace in Florence. In 2011, I found myself standing before this masterpiece while exploring the Palace’s vast galleries with my family. Dominating the wall on which it hangs, I was arrested by its exquisite execution and immense dimensions, and by its subject matter. Although this painting was completed in 1638 it remains as relevant today as it was then, and goes to the heart of the issues that I explore in this book.

The Consequences of War was commissioned by the Medici family during Europe’s Thirty Years’ War and captures the turmoil that was engulfing the continent at the time. Importantly, this war ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties that established the foundations of the contemporary international relations system, based on the notion of state sovereignty. As discussed throughout this book, this notion continues to shape international relations, including the operation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The allegorical painting projects a strong antiwar message through its depiction of the devastating consequences of conflict. In this masterpiece, the central illuminated female figure, Venus, the Roman goddess of love, appears as a plaintive victim: despite her entreaties, her lover, Mars, the god of war, seems determined to continue the battle, spurred on by the wicked Alekto, the goddess of fury. The darkly draped female figure of Europa desperately looks on, while her sister, representing arts and culture, is trampled. The cowering woman clinging to her child points to the particular vulnerability of mothers and children in warfare. The near nakedness of almost all the female figures is a reminder to the viewer of the violations of women’s bodies in combat, an abuse that is itself treated as an unfortunate, but incidental, consequence of war.

In illustrating the terror and destruction that comes with conflict, the painting reminds us that war has always been understood in gendered . . .

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