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Call for concerted international action to sanction conflict-related sexual violence

Petra Bayr (Austria, SOC)

Conflict-related sexual violence, “which can be a constitutive element of genocide”, is a preventable phenomenon, which can be combated through “concerted international action, protective national policies and strictly enforced punishment for perpetrators”, PACE’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination said today.

Unanimously adopting a draft resolution, based on a report by Petra Bayr (Austria, SOC), the parliamentarians called on Council of Europe member States to sign and ratify the Rome Statute as the legal basis for the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and to use “universal jurisdiction as a means of prosecuting perpetrators wherever they have committed crimes of conflict-related sexual violence”. Together with PACE, they should support the setting up of a Special (ad hoc) International Tribunal “to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine” and ensure that investigations into conflict-related sexual violence are a priority.

Care for survivors must be immediate, holistic and centred on the needs of the persons concerned, the parliamentarians said. In this respect, they called for financial contributions to support the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims and urged that the frozen assets of perpetrators convicted by the ICC be transferred on request to fund reparations and survivors’ programmes.

Survivor-centred measures, the adopted text underlines, must be tailored to the individual needs of survivors wherever they find themselves, including access to information and abortion without barriers.