Conference of Plenipotentiaries

This research study has revealed one true fact that women community in general in Congo have been the target and infested with multifarious violence and injustice either in the peace or in strife period. Women body is always considered as a battleground as UNFPA put it so correctly “Our bodies…their battleground”. For millennia, women and girls have suffered rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other brutal forms of sexual and gender violence especially during armed conflict.

Like other forms of war related brutality, such violence is often unleashed, ravaged or ordered by military, paramilitary or other governmental actors. Although the international community has made some strides in outlawing and punishing atrocities committed during armed conflict through the development of international humanitarian law, gender-based violence has been consistently marginalized or dismissed as a natural consequence of war. Today onslaught against women is even considered as a weapon in many conflicts disempowering the poor community even further.

The patriarchal oppression and discrimination on women community during the millennia are therefore rampant. Women are not only negatively affected in the occupational, educational, sexual, reproductive, social and political spheres of their lives, but also on the level of both the personal and the archetype [2] that influence or affect their consciousness. Women in the DRC should make her own history even if it is not under conditions of her own choosing. J. Parpart and K. A. Staudt have written about women making their history in different part of Africa.

Their intellectual interests have now converged on a key point: the male dominated state always warps women’s ability to make history on their own. [4] Gender, is pivotal factor to any and all effort to conceptualise the “modern” state, whether it be its historical origins, current composition, or management of the extraction and distribution of resources. Whether in its indigenous, colonial, or modern forms, the state has been overwhelmingly controlled by men and this control has translated into laws, policies, and spending patterns which not coincidentally benefit women.

Women’s seemingly personal, everyday experiences are structured by policies, most of which are apparently “gender-neutral. ” But these policies are in fact experienced very differently by men and women. It may be termed as leap in the humankind for having set up a permanent International Court of Justice (ICC) due to the signing of a treaty by the International communities in July,1998 to investigate and punish any genocide , crimes unleashed against humanity and war crimes where there was failure by the national authorities to initiate action on these crimes .

Women’s rights activists viewed the formation of the ICC as an historic opportunity to address the failures of earlier international treaties and tribunals to properly delineate, investigate, and prosecute wartime violence against women. Capitalising on their successes in inviting attention to atrocities suffered by women in recent conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda, women’s rights activists ensured that history did not repeat again in committing atrocities against women in future conflicts.

The recognition that rape and other forms of sexual violence are among the most serious crimes under international humanitarian law was one of many momentous accomplishments of the July 1998 United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries that negotiated the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute). The Rome Statute’s gender provisions are an encouraging example of how the development of the international women’s rights movement is enforcing its striking influence on international human rights and humanitarian law despite the strong influence of conservative political forces.

The conflict in the DRC that raged from 1996 to 2003 has left numerous scars on the people and infrastructure of the country. The conflict resulted in the widespread destruction of homes and hospitals, the mass killings and brutality that have left hundred of thousands of children without families, thousands of people without limbs and resulted in widespread sickness.

However, heinous violence unleashed on innocents is proved to be one of the most lasting and difficult to heal. The DRC conflict was particularly marked by the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war. While rape has, tragically, never been employed as a major offensive in conflict in humane history, in the DRC it was clearly used by armed groups as one of the major weapons against their opponents and the civilian population.