Thursday, January 7, 2010

Call for Papers: Women and International Criminal Law

Beth Van Schaack, Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, announced the following call for papers:


The International Criminal Law Review invites submissions for its 2010 special issue entitled "Women and International Criminal Law," to be guest-edited by Diane Marie Amann, University of California, Davis, School of Law; Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Temple University Beasley School of Law; and Beth Van Schaack, University of Santa Clara School of Law. The Special Issue is dedicated to Judge Patricia M. Wald, a pathbreaker in international criminal law who has served as Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a Judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a member of the Iraq Intelligence Commission, Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law Task Force on the International Criminal Court, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

This special issue is devoted to the topic of women and international criminal law. The majority of the articles have been solicited from prominent academics and practitioners in the field of international criminal law and feminist jurisprudence, such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Prof. Jenny Martinez, Dean Martha Minow, Prof. David Luban, Prof. Leila Nadya Sadat, Prof. Naomi Cahn, and Lucy Reed. The editors have also reserved several slots for submissions in response to this call to papers. Submissions should be inspired by this theme statement: "Women & International Criminal Law."

 The law, it has been noted, "has not always served women well." The critique extends readily to international law. Until very recently, women were absent from the processes of international law formation and enforcement, and invisible within substantive law reflective of the male experience.  Mirroring the public/private divide running through much of law and society, the law, and those with the power to use it, tended to treat all forms of gender violence as opportunistic, peripheral, or private crimes reflecting personal motives and desires unconnected to issues of international importance. Thanks to the tireless work of committed advocates, jurists, and diplomats, international criminal law now treats many forms of gender violence as prosecutable offences against the physical and mental integrity of the victim. With the promulgation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the voluminous jurisprudence of the ad hoc criminal tribunals, the law now sanctions the prosecution of gender crimes as war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, and the predicate acts of genocide.

Women have stood front and center to push these developments. Other international institutions often are dominated by men.  Yet women have served in top posts in all of the modern tribunals, as Presidents (Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Navanethem Pillay, and Renate Winter), Registrar (Dorothée de Sampayo Garrido-Nijgh), Chief Prosecutors (Louise Arbour and Carla Del Ponte), Deputy Prosecutors (Fatou Bensouda), Gender Advisors (Patricia Viseur Sellers and Catharine MacKinnon), and in many other judicial, prosecution, defense, and administrative capacities.  The tribunals are approaching gender parity in staffing, although women remain concentrated in the lower professional grades.  International criminal law is thus one area of international law in which women have made headway in terms of substantive law and institutional access; still, significant obstacles remain to ensure a robust system of gender justice in the face of continued violations.

The field of international criminal law nears a watershed moment, as ad hoc tribunals wind down and the International Criminal Court becomes fully operational. This opportune time invites reflection on whether international criminal law should be considered a feminist project. Accordingly, this volume offers sustained study of how international criminal law affects women and how women have affected international criminal law. We welcome submissions on the following topics:


. Can, and has, international criminal law improved the material conditions of women's lives and promoted the dignity of women?

. Is participation in international criminal justice liberating and transformative, or alienating and regressive?

. What legal reforms, procedural devices, advocacy strategies, and institutional arrangements can be employed to ensure that women experience the former and not the latter?

. Does fixation on criminal penalties constrain imagination and implementation of other ways to respond to the needs, demands, and aspirations of women in situations of armed conflict, mass violence, abuse, and repression?

. How have women - as activists, victims, lawyers, and perpetrators - changed the field?

. How has the gender jurisprudence advanced, or impeded, the development of international criminal law?

. Has international criminal law changed the way we think about violence against women?


This volume looks beyond sex crimes to consider multiple ways that women experience war and repression, as agents of change, as victims, and as perpetrators.  The study adopts critical perspectives to challenge conceptual boundaries - between and within public international law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights - that tend to eclipse the intersectionalities of women's identities and to fragment women's experiences with violence, based upon whether violence occurs in a time of war or peace, whether it occurs at home or in a detention center, or whether the perpetrator is a state actor or a private person. Our hope is that the new perspectives presented in this collection will advance our thinking about gender and international law across a number of disciplines.  We welcome your participation in this historic effort to examine the impact of international criminal law on women, and vice versa.

The volume will be published in spring 2011. Judge Wald and other contributors will present their works at a roundtable hosted at the American Society of International Law's Tillar House in Washington, D.C., on October 29, 2010 - days before the tenth anniversary of the first U.N. Security Council resolution on Women, Peace and Security. 

To ensure anonymity in the selection phase, please submit a solid draft essay or article, in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 words, with all identifying information redacted, to Kathleen A. Doty (U.C. Davis), by way of an e-mail attachment in Word format, by April 15, 2010.  Please note the paper's title (which should match exactly the title of the redacted paper) and your name and contact information in the body of the e-mail.  

Once papers have been selected, they will be subject to a full edit and peer review in advance of the October roundtable. The final draft of the paper will be due no later than March 1, 2011, and should adhere to the International Criminal Law Review style sheet, which is available at



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