Gender and International Criminal Justice

Sexual violations in International Criminal Law are being committed on an unprecedented level especially during armed conflict. Sexual violence should always be viewed in its proper context and as one example of the many gendered harms of armed conflict. More and more, national prosecution services are being called upon as key players in the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). However, in both national and international jurisdictions, investigators and prosecutors must be careful not to exacerbate misconceptions about sexual violence through the approaches and strategies they adopt in sexual violence cases. It is not far from the truth that the prosecution of international and other complex crimes differ in key respects in the day-to-day work but both require dedicated expertise and specialized practical training.

The Gender Center at SIASIC

Women, peace and security is an issue that has raised a lot of international attention. The idea of the Gender Centre came from the emphasis by the Office of The Prosecutor at the ICTY on prosecution of SGBV through the experiences they encountered during the prosecution of the accused persons arising from the Balkans conflict. It became apparent that victims were being used to perpetrate the war through use of sexual violence.

Additionally, the Gender Centre not only focuses on SGBV during conflict but also focuses on the crimes that occur during peacetime. This has led to the development of a database that brings together organizations that deal with SGBV in various capacities into one resource tool.

Core functions of the Gender Centre

  1. Focus on providing specialized training to prosecutors and investigators in dealing with SGBV – particularly collection and gathering of evidence, prosecuting sexual violence perpetrators and applying the available legal framework in conducting these prosecutions.
  2. Conducting applied research in SGBV issues that result to various outputs such as capacity-building trainings, resource tools and policy papers.
  1. ADVANCED TRAINING ON THE PROSECUTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMES: THEMATIC FOCUS ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE CRIMES

The training was held in the Strathmore University Auditorium from the 28th July – 3rd August 2016.


This advanced training course was a specialized program in international criminal law. The thematic focus was on integrating effective approaches to addressing conflict-related sexual violence crimes as a core part of prosecution work. The teaching faculty for the course was made up of senior international criminal justice practitioners with extensive experience in navigating the challenges inherent in cases involving international crimes and other complex criminal cases, including the specific challenges that apply to conflict-related sexual violence crimes.


It was organised by SIASIC with financial assistance from the Nuremberg Academy in Nuremberg, Germany. The course was tailored for Prosecutors and other legal practitioners working generally in domestic and international criminal law, and/or sexual and gender based violence.


The trainers were prosecutors from the Office of the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), including the former Chief Prosecutor, Dr Serge Brammertz, the former Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Ms Michelle Jarvis, Mr Douglas Stringer and Ms Lisa Biersay.

  1. ADVANCED TRAINING ON THE PROSECUTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMES

The training was held in the Strathmore University Auditorium from the 27th – 31st July 2015.

It was organised by SIASIC with financial assistance from the Nuremberg Academy in Nuremberg, Germany and the Swiss Embassy, Kenya.

The trainers were prosecutors from the Office of the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), including the former Chief Prosecutor, Dr Serge Brammertz, Mr Douglas Stringer, Ms Lisa Biersay, and Mr Matthew Gillett.

The course curriculum and materials were developed by the trainers. The materials were modelled along a real life case scenario, with a fact pattern and evidence. This formed the basis for the practical sessions. The course materials also included excerpts from the Rome Statute and the elements of crimes for the lecture modules. The training was delivered through lectures, discussion groups and practical exercises. There was a total of 26 participants; 19 from Kenya, 4 from Zambia, 2 Nigeria and 1 from India.

      3. SEXUAL & GENDER BASED VIOLENCE MODULE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE MASTER OF LAWS

The Gender Center was instrumental in the creation of a module to provide specialized training in the investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual and gender based violence under the Strathmore Law School Master of Laws Program.

Topics covered under the module include legal framework under international and national law to address SGBV, the unique requirements and tools for investigating SGBV including victim interviewing skills and the use of forensic evidence, the use of SGBV in armed conflict as a weapon of war.

The module also focuses on social and legal biases in dealing with SGBV including psychology of SGBV crimes and gendered notions in the law and society, as well as human rights and the rule of law dimensions of sexuality and gender.

  1. LAUNCH OF THE WHO IS WHO IN ADDRESSING SEXUAL & GENDER BASED VIOLENCE DATABASE

The Gender Centre in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, has done a mapping out of actors in the field of Sexual & Gender Based Violence titled, “Who is Who in addressing Sexual and Gender Based Violence” in Eastern & Southern Africa.

The 2016 SIASIC conference on the investigation and prosecution of SGBV showed the high number of East African stakeholders involved in fighting SGBV, as well as the diversity of their nature and projects, but also highlighted the lack of coordination amongst them. Further, stakeholders acknowledged the need for improved awareness raising, prevention and accountability in East Africa and the African continent generally in this field.

Accordingly, the “Who is Who in addressing SGBV” serves as a comprehensive database of stakeholders in Eastern & Southern Africa to allow easy identification of actors, their activities as well as allow for networking. It seeks to bring stakeholders together to create synergies necessary for more efficient deliveries in the fight against Sexual & Gender Based Violence.

The database has mapped out 600 organizations in Eastern & Southern Africa that provide litigation, advocacy, legal aid, education, rehabilitation services among others in the field of SGBV.

The database which will be an online resource is set to be officially launched on 26 July 2018.