Inside Story

War rape: Is justice being done?

Soldiers go on trial in the first case of its kind in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is a crime that the United Nations says represents a stain on our collective conscience, and one that grows with each new rape committed. Sexual violence is endemic in society in general, but it is as a weapon of war that the crime has gone largely unpunished.

A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo handed down only two rape convictions in a mass trial of 39 soldiers on Monday. The charges stem from a military operation in the town of Minova in November 2012. In 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1820 – in part as a response to the conflict in the DRC.

It declared that “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.”.

So what is being done to combat sexual violence, and seek justice for victims of rape as a weapon of war?

Presenter: Mike Hanna


Zainab Hawa Bangura – the UN special representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Victoria Dove Dimandja – co-founder of the Congolese Women’s Group in the UK, and who runs the It Must Stop Campaign.

Brigid Inder – executive director of the Women’s Intiative for Gender Justice.