ABSTRACT

If, historically, impunity for wartime acts of rape and sexual violence long remained the default position, as discussed in Chapter 1, a new rhetoric of ‘no impunity’ now dominates international discourse. Speaking in Colombia in 2012, for example, the then UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, underlined that ‘Failure to hold to account those responsible means that survivors are even less likely to come forward to report these crimes. Impunity must never be an option’. 1 In a similar vein, the Foreword to the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict declares that:

For decades – if not centuries – there has been a near-total absence of justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence in conflict. We hope this Protocol will be part of a new global effort to shatter this culture of impunity, helping survivors and deterring people from committing these crimes in the first place. 2