Criminal justice for gendered violence and beyond

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dina Francesca Haynes, Naomi Cahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the advancements in and limitations of international criminal law to address the range of harms experienced by women in times of armed conflict. International criminal law is an important tool, but not the only relevant structure or institution that has a role to play in addressing the underlying conditions and causes that produce systematic violence for women. The long-term success of post-conflict reconstruction rests upon understanding and legally articulating what women truly perceive as generally harmful to them, and then remedying those harms in the broadest possible sense. In assessing the influence and value of international and domestic criminal accountability for violations experienced by women, it is also important that we acknowledge law's limits. Criminal accountability has both symbolic and practical importance, but it must be combined with policy-making focused on the deep inequalities and disadvantages experienced by women in order to fundamentally transform women' lives in post-conflict societies. Feminists should be suspicious when law only addresses a fraction of transgressive sexual acts and fails to engender equality and nullify discrimination. Both are central to changing women's lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-443
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Criminal Law Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


  • gender-based violence
  • international criminal law
  • sexual violence


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