Sisyphus Wept: Prosecuting Sexual Violence at the International Criminal Court

Authored by: Niamh Hayes

The Ashgate Research Companion to International Criminal Law

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409419181
eBook ISBN: 9781315613062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043157


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It would be churlish, even in a book devoted to critical analyses of the subject, not to acknowledge that international criminal prosecutions are an incredibly complex and eye-wateringly difficult undertaking. Establishing jurisdiction and admissibility; selecting defendants or specific incidents for prosecution; conducting investigations, often via translators and frequently several years after the relevant events occurred, in situations of ongoing conflict or fraught post-conflict societies; identifying the most appropriate charges and modes of liability; balancing disclosure requirements with the need to protect vulnerable victims and witnesses; obtaining custody of a suspect: none of these are simple tasks, and all have the potential to act as lightning rods for criticism or as pressure points for any errors or weaknesses in the case. In some respects, international prosecutors are faced with a thankless task. No matter what they do, someone somewhere is waiting to tell them they have done it wrong, or not enough. 1

All opinions expressed in this chapter are the author’s alone.

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