Home Institution

The College of Wooster

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This paper investigates if the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has been efficient in achieving its main objective of “bringing war criminals to justice [and] bringing justice to victims.” This study explores the historical context by which the ICTY was created, and therefore examines the disintegration of Yugoslavia, focusing specifically on the Bosnian War. During this conflict, rape was employed as a method of warfare; this paper presents a brief theoretical examination of rape as a war weapon and analyzes rape and sexual violence as explicit methods of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It explores the evolution of gender and the protection of women in international humanitarian law preceding the ICTY, and discusses the development of gender strategy at the Tribunal. The successes and failures of this strategy are analyzed through four critical Tribunal cases involving charges of rape and sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Finally, this study analyzes the Tribunal’s efficiency in achieving its published objectives, drawing on concerns voiced by both international organizations and individuals interviewed for this research. Efficiency is examined as not only as bringing justice through judicial avenues, but through outreach and relationships with Bosnian organizations, survivors and victims as well. The conclusions of this paper acknowledge the complexities surrounding the Tribunal and its limitations, but call on the international community to combat the failed systems of instituting justice to victims of the Bosnian War, specifically sexual violence victims and their children.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Inequality and Stratification | International Law