[Rosemary Grey is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales.]
The case of The Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda,
which is currently before the International Criminal Court (ICC), is the latest of several cases in the ICC and Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) to address the issue of sexual violence against female child soldiers by members of their own group.
The accused, Ntaganda, is the alleged former commander of the Union des Patriotes Congolais-Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo
(UPC-FPLC), an armed group which in 2002 and 2003 was involved in the non-international armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
On 9 June 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed the charges
against Ntaganda, including charges for the rape and sexual slavery of female child soldiers in the UPC–FPCL by their commanders and fellow soldiers, which the ICC Prosecutor characterized as war crimes under Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Rome Statute. This was the first time that Article 8(2)(e)(vi) had been used to prosecute sex crimes committed against child soldiers by members of the same armed group.
I recently discussed the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision on Beyond The Hague
; here I will focus on the parties’ interpretation of Article 8(2)(e)(vi), and highlight some important gender issues raised by this case.