Press_release_-_Justice+for+Sexual_Slavery+&++Rape+in+Guatemala

This important case is one to follow.  In Peru, in the key trials currently underway, the focus is on massacres and forced disappearances. Sexual violence does not figure in to the charges.  When I asked why, I was told it is because the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity carry the maximum penalty so that is what the prosecutors want to prove.  They want to present their strongest possible cases, and they are concerned that sexual violence charges lack “sufficient evidence” to result in successful prosecutions. Additionally, as the prosecutors note, sexual violence is subsumed  within these other charges so there would be no additional penalty even if they were able to successfully prosecute the sexual violence charges.

The logic is reasonable from a strictly legal perspective, but very disturbing in other ways.  Rape and other forms of sexual violence remain invisible, and the implicit message is that these are crimes of secondary importance. This sends a terrible message to the perpetrators, as well as the thousands of women and men who were subjected to sexual violence during Peru’s internal armed conflict.

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