Throughout time no matter where the location, rape and other acts of sexual violence towards women have always been a part of war. Shrugged off, rape warfare has become an acceptable by-product for what men do even though the Geneva Conventions, the legal framework outlining the rules of war, prohibits it. Specifically looking at the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Rwanda, this thesis will focus on how women's bodies became the battlefield. Journals, books and documentary films all present testimony on how rape went beyond being a by-product of war to instead become a tool of war itself: a strategic military plan for genocide. Secondary research examines articles within the Geneva Conventions as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide that directly address the safety and treatment of women during war. My findings are that these structures of law very often go ignored. The creation of an International Criminal Court and two ad-hoc tribunals, however, will prosecute those accountable for committing sexual atrocities during war and in doing so send a strong message that acts of violence towards women will not be tolerated. How well this message gets heard remains to be seen as wars continue to define our future.



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