Target: Judge of the International Criminal Court, Sylvia Steiner (Brazil)
Goal: Applaud international court for recognizing rape as a war crime.
Jean-Pierre Bemba, Former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity for massive campaigns of murder and rape. While other international courts have recognized rape as a war crime, this is the first time the ICC has issued a conviction that cites mass rape as a punishable crime against humanity. This conviction is a tremendous step in the right direction, showing the world that rape as a tool of war is no longer going to go unpunished.
The rape of women has been a barbaric part of war for centuries. Many women have had to endure the pain, suffering, and shame that results from sexual assault, with no hope of justice against their attackers. Fortunately, the injustice and inhumanity of systemic rape during wartime has been under fire from human rights groups and petitions here at ForceChange. The recent decision by the ICC is a hopeful sign that rape will no longer merely be considered an unfortunate part of war, but as a punishable and unallowable offense.
While there is still a long way to go in the fight against women’s bodies being used as battlefields during war, the ICC’s conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba is a monumental and important step forward. Please sign the below petition to thank the ICC for supporting the rights of women worldwide by acknowledging rape as a punishable war crime.
Dear Ms. Steiner,
I am writing to thank you and your peers at the International Criminal Court for acknowledging rape as a war crime in your recent conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba. The mass rape of women during wartime has been an atrocity that has occurred for centuries, yet it has been flippantly disregarded as a mere eventuality of war. Your recent decision to label rape as a crime against humanity that is punishable by a court is an important step forward for women’s rights worldwide.
Rape is a barbaric act that dehumanizes its victims, often leaving lasting physical and emotional pain. For years and years, women who have experienced rape during wartime have had no hope of justice against their attackers, and their plight has been ignored. However, the ICC’s recent conviction of Bemba is a beacon of hope. Your decision shows that the world is no longer going to allow the mass rape of women during wartime to be ignored, and that those who are guilty of this atrocity will be prosecuted and punished for their actions.
We obviously still have a long way to go in the fight against rape being used as a tool of war, yet each step forward is one to be celebrated. Thank you so much to you and the ICC for standing up for women around the world by recognizing rape as a war crime punishable by international law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Richard Potts