Lecture to Address Prevalence and Prosecution of Rape as a Weapon of War

February 20th, 2013 by Danielle Kane

Kelly Dawn Askin, senior legal officer at Open Society Justice Initiative, will give a lecture titled “Rape as a Weapon of War” on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Rehm Library, Smith Hall, at the College of the Holy Cross. Presented by the College’s Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, the lecture is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Askin will review the historic treatment of wartime sexual violence; the progress made in redressing rape, sexual slavery, and other gender related crimes in the past 20 years; and outlooks for the future.

“There’s no situation of armed conflict where gender crimes aren’t prevalent, and indeed we’re seeing them increasingly committed not only just opportunistically — because the war, the atmosphere of violence, creates the opportunity — but systematically as part of a very powerful weapon of war and destruction,” she said.

For over 15 years, Askin has served as an expert consultant, legal advisor, or international law trainer to prosecutors, judges, and registry at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor, the International Criminal Court, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. She also works on efforts to prosecute international crimes in domestic courts, including a mobile gender justice court in eastern DR Congo.

Her books include “War Crimes Against Women: Prosecution in International War Crimes Tribunals” (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997) and the three-volume treatise “Women and International Human Rights Law” (Transnational Pub, 1999, 2001, 2002). She has lectured in dozens of countries and has authored over 50 law review articles and book chapters. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Prominent Women in International Law award by the American Society of International Law.

Askin was the Fulbright New Century Scholar on the Global Empowerment of Women in 2004-05. She has taught or served as a visiting scholar at Notre Dame Law School, American University’s Washington College of Law, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Yale Law School, and Oxford University. From 1999-2003, she also served as executive director of the International Criminal Justice Institute and American University’s War Crimes Research Office.

To learn more about these events and find lectures online, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.

About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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