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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN ARMED CONFLICTS IN THE WESTERN REGION OF CÔTED’IVOIRE
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Sexual violence in war time is a grave and dehumanizing act. From ancient wars to modern conflicts, as populations suffer the pang of guns, women and other vulnerable groups endure untold additional harms. These harms include, but arenot limited to sexual violence, manifesting as coerced undressing, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, involuntary abortion, compulsory sterilization and undesirable prostitution. They have left behind indelible mental and physical scars on the victims thereby violating their fundamental human rights. Côte d’Ivoirecould not escape this sad reality during the country’s armed conflicts as many women were subjected to sexual atrocities. International Jurisprudence and United Nations Resolutions prescribed that such crimes vest on victims the right to rehabilitation. Therefore, this research examined the effectiveness of the rehabilitative measures put in place for the female victims of sexual violence in the Ivorian Western region armed conflicts from 2002 to 2012.
The study adopted a qualitative design employing semi-structured interviews guide to collect information from victims, witnesses and government officials of Western Côte d’Ivoire. Purposive sampling and snowball techniques were adopted in the selection of respondents facilitated by the officials of the Ivorian Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Data were content-analyzed and presented thematically with victimology, inevitability of sexual violence in armed conflicts and feminism serving as theoretical frameworks.
The findings showed that the modus operandi of the Ivorian fighters in the perpetration of sexual violence ranged from forced separation of couples to gang rape in village rape houses, from roadblock rapes to sacrificial rapes. The victims who included infants, teenagers, and old women were traumatized, polyvictimized and revictimized. Many of them vented their feelings through anger, self-defense, isolation and suicide. Both international and local communities responded to the victims’ plight with the Ivoirian Government providing legislative, judicial, administrative and social reparative measures. Yet, these responses were inadequate and fraught with challenges such as the non-implementation of international treaties, flaws in the Ivorian laws, under-reporting of crimes,poorly conducted investigations, denial of victims’ rights by the traditional justice system, and lack of access by some of the victims to the reparative bodies.
The study concluded that the haphazard implementation of rehabilitative programs had left the victims traumatized and ostracized from their families and communities as they are unable to engage in regular community affairs. Thus, the thesis recommended that the United Nations monitor the rule of law in the country. The Executive, through its Ministries of Women Affairs and Defense should ensure that reparative machineries be brought closer to the victims. The Legislature needs to enact laws affirming the UN guidelines for the compensation of victims and the Judiciary should train its personnel to deal appropriately with the sensitive nature of sexual violence. Côte d’Ivoire and the international community need to ensure that the effective rehabilitation of victims is attained.
Keywords: Armed conflicts, Côte d’Ivoire, Sexual Violence, Rehabilitation, Women’s rights.
Word Count: 467
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
Codes, Statutes and Declarations xiii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 3
1.3 Objective of the Study 4
1.4 Research Questions 5
1.5 Justification for the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 6
1.7 Methodology 7
1.7.1 Research Design 7
1.7.2 Collection of Data 7
1.7.3 Ethical Consideration 8
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms 9
1.9 Synopsis of Chapters 10
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
2.0 Introduction 12
2.1 Literature Review 12
2.1.1 Concept of Sexual Violence in Situation of Armed Conflicts 12
18.104.22.168 Meaning of Sexual Violence 12
22.214.171.124 Patterns and Forms of Conflict- Related Sexual Violence 15
126.96.36.199 Legal Interpretation of Sexual violence in Armed Conflicts 21
2.1.2 Effects of Wartime Sexual Violence on Women 25
188.8.131.52 Physical Effects 25
184.108.40.206 Psychological Effects 27
220.127.116.11 Socio- Economic and Cultural Effects 29
18.104.22.168 Death as a Result of Wartime Sexual Violence 32
2.1.3 Women’s Rights in the Context of Wartime Sexual Violence 33
22.214.171.124 Women’s Rights are Human’s Rights 34
126.96.36.199 Right to Life 35
188.8.131.52 Right to Freedom of Expression 35
184.108.40.206 Right to Education 36
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights 36
220.127.116.11 Right to Personal Dignity 37
18.104.22.168 Right to Humanitarian Protection 37
- Right to Reparation 38
2.2 Theoretical Framework 40
2.2.1 Victimology Theory 41
22.214.171.124 Explaining the Victimology Theory 41
126.96.36.199 Expectations of Conflict-related Sexual Violence Victims 45
2.2.2 Inevitability of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts Theory 49
188.8.131.52 Inevitability of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts 50
184.108.40.206 Paradigm Shift: Sexual Violence is not inevitable 62
2.2.3 Feminist theory 68
220.127.116.11 Brief Overview on the Origin of Feminism 68
18.104.22.168 African and Radical Feminism69
22.214.171.124 AfricanRadical Feminist Theory and Wartime Sexual
126.96.36.199Feminist theoryGaps in explaining Wartime Sexual Violence 72
CHAPTER THREE: INTERNATIONAL LAW AND WARTIME
3.0 Introduction 74
3.1 The Denunciation of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts 74
3.2 Legislative Measures Dealing with Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts 76
3.2.1International Customary Laws 76
- International Humanitarian Laws 77
- International Criminal Rules 79
- International Human Rights Regulations 80
- UN Resolutions and Actions 82
- Regional and National Laws 85
- Gaps in the Legislative Measures Related to Sexual Violence in Conflicts 87
3.3 Prosecuting Wartime Sexual Violence 89
- International Courts Decisions 89
- Regional Tribunal Pronouncements 92
3.3.3 National Courts 92
3.3.4 Gaps in Prosecuting Wartime Sexual Violence 94
CHAPTER FOUR: THE SCOPE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
PERPETRATED AGAINST WOMEN DURING THE ARMED
CONFLICTS IN THE WESTERN REGION OF CÔTE D’IVOIRE
4.0 Introduction 101
- Description of the Area under Study and the Fight in the Western Côte d’Ivoire 102
4.1.1The Area under Study 102
4.1.2 TheConflict in Western Côte d’Ivoire 103
- Wartime Sexual Violence in Western Côte d’Ivoire 109
4.2.1 The Reality of Sexual Violence in the West during the Armed Conflict 109
4.2.2 The Modus Operandi of the Violence 114
4.2.3 The Targeted Women and Girls 125
4.2.4 The Perpetrators 129
4.3 Conclusion 133
CHAPTER FIVE: THE TRAUMA OF WOMEN, VICTIMSOF
WARTIME SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN WESTERN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
5.1Sexual Victimization of Women during Western Côte d’Ivoire Wartime 134
5.1.1 Victimized and Polyvictimized women 134
5.1.2 Revictimized women 136
5.2 Impact of the ill treatment on women 142
5.2.1 Physiological trauma 142
5.2.2 Psychological trauma 144
5.2.3 Rights violated 146
5.3Reactions of the Traumatized Rape Victims 147
5.3.1 Anger 147
5.3.2 Auto Defense 148
5.3.3 Silence 148
5.3.4Isolation and Relocation 150
5.3.5 Suicide 150
CHAPTER SIX: RESPONDING TO THE PLIGHT OF SEXUAL
VIOLENCEVICTIMS IN WESTERNCÔTE D’IVOIRE
6.0 Introduction 152
6.1 Government Reparative Measures 153
6.1.1 Legislative Measures 153
6.1.2 Judicial Decisions 161
6.1.3 Administrative Actions 166
6.2 Special Domestic Entities Reparative Actions 170
6.2.1 Actions of Communities 170
6.2.2 Churches Welfare Programs 172
6.2.3 Individual Voluntary Actions 172
6.3 Non-Governmental Organizations (Ngos) Reparative Assistance 173
6.3.1 Assistance to Victims 173
6.3.2 Creation of Awareness in the Communities 175
6.3.3 Challenges to NGO Actions 176
6.4 International Community Interventions towards Reparation 177
6.4.1 The Creation of Human Rights Division in UNOCI 177
6.4.2 Financial Support and Restoration 177
6.4.3 Trainings 178
6.5 Conclusion 179
CHAPTER SEVEN: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND
7.4Contribution to Knowledge 189
7.5Areas for Further Studies 190
AFJCI: (French acronym) Association of Ivorian Female Lawyers
CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
CI: Côte d’Ivoire
CONARIV: (French Acronym;Commission Nationale pour la Réconciliation et l’Indemnisation des Victimes.English Version: Ivorian Commission for Reconciliation and Indemnification of Victims)
DEVAW: Declaration on the Elimination of all forms Violence against Women
ECOMOG: Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group
ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States
HIV: Human Immune-deficiency Virus
ICC: International Criminal Court
ICTY: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
ICTR: International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
DPKO: Department of Peacekeeping Operations
DRC: Democratic Republic of Congo
IHL: International humanitarian law
IPS: Inter Press Service
IRIN: Integrated Regional Information Networks
J.Int. L: Journal of International Law
MONUC: United Nation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo
NGO: Non-governmental organization
OCHA: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OFACI: French acronym: Organization des Femmes Actives de Côted’ Ivoire;
English version: Organization of Active Women of Côted’ Ivoire
PAJEF: French acronym: Projet d’Appui et d’Accès à la Justice pour les Enfants et les Femmes Victimes d’Abus en Côte d’Ivoire, English version: Project providing help to women and children in their access to justice.
SCSL: Special Court for Sierra Leone
SRSVAC: Special Representative for Sexual violence in Armed Conflicts
UDHR: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
UFHB French Acronym: Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny,
English version: Félix Houphouët-Boigny University
UNDP: United Nations Development Programme
UNFPA: United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIFEM: French Acronym: Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Femme ( English: UN Women)
UNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund
USAID: United States Agency for International Development
CODES, STATUTES AND DECLARATIONS
1863 United States Army Regulations on the Laws of Land Warfare, later called the Lieber
1907 Hague Convention
1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
1948 Universal declaration of Human Rights
1949 Geneva Conventions
1949 Additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of Victims of
International Armed Conflicts
1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
1966 International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights
1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Discriminations against Women
1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEDAW)
1993Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
1994 Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
2002 The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
2006Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CPPED
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights
2003African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa
2007Nairobi Declaration on Women’s and Girls’ Right to a remedy and reparations.
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS
1325 (2000), UNSC Resolution
1820 (2008), UNSC Resolution
1888 (2009), UNSC Resolution
1960 (2010), UNSC Resolution
2106 (2013), UNSC Resolution
2122 (2013). UNSC Resolution
2000 Constitution of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
1981 Code Penal Ivoirien (Ivorian Penal Code)
Prosecutor v. Delalić et al. (Čelebići case), Judgement, Case No. IT-96-21-T, International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), 1998
Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija (Trial Judgement), IT-95-17/1-T, International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), 1998.
Prosecutor v. Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic IT-96-23-T& IT-96-23/1- T (Trial Judgment, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 2001)
Prosecutor v Akayesu (Jean-Paul), Trial judgment, Case No ICTR-96-4-T, ICL 90, (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), 2 September 1998).
Prosecutor v. Alex Tamba Brima &Ors – Judgment ( SCSL-2004-16-A )  SCSL 23 (22 February 2008)
Berenson-Mejia v. Peru, Judgment (IACtHR, 25 Nov. 2004)( Inter American Court of Human Rights, 2004)
Abdullah Aydin v. Turkey (57/1996/676/866), (Selected judgments of the European Court of human rights, 1966)
I Interviews Guides and Report of the Key Informants. 203
II BUHREC Ethical Clearance. 249
III Letter from the Researcher to the Ministry ofSolidarity, Family, Women
and Children 250
IV Letter from the Ivorian Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women and Children
to Man’s Regional Director 251
V Letter from the Man’s Regional Director of the Ivorian Ministry of Solidarity,
Family, Women and Children to the local offices of Tonpki, Guemon and Cavally 252
1.1 Background to the Study
Sexual violence is the most common form of gender violence. It is considered by many societies as a gross violation of women’s rights. Sexual violence perpetrated in times of peace is aggravated in times of violent conflicts. From ancient wars to modern conflicts, the dehumanization and chastisement of a conquered people have included sexual assault against the enemy’s women, and sometimes its men. However, there are more incidents of women subjected to sexual violence in armed conflicts than men. The evil is perpetrated at various levels, macro, meso, and micro. Some eminent scholars, such as Heineman and Vikman, assent that sexual violence is inevitable in all armed conflicts and as soon as war starts, women and girls are targeted.
Wartime Sexual violence against women encompasses various forms such as coerced undressing, forced nudity, rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, unwanted pregnancy, forced marriage, involuntary abortion, compulsory sterilization and undesirable prostitution. Fighters and other individuals use the availability of arms as an “opportunity” during the breakdown of rules and social norms to attack women of all ages and walks of life including babies, girls, and women as old as eighty years.
It has been observed that the effects of these atrocities on the lives of women persist. For victims of sexual violence in armed conflicts, when the guns are silent, their war continues as they struggle with both physical and psychological injuries. Assessing the overwhelming effects of this unbearable situation, Cammaert strongly declared that “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.” Similarly, Ban Ki-Moon affirmed that “Violence against women is a crime against humanity, no crime more brutal.” Thus, national, regional and international bodies are making some efforts to combat the scourge but the perpetration is still visible in almost all conflicts in the world.
It is within this confused state of affairs in conflicts that the Côte D’Ivoire (CI) crisis occurred. It was ten years of political unrest, escalating inter-ethnic tensions and violence that marred Côte d’Ivoire’s former reputation for stability and threw the country into a number of crises. There were two waves of armed conflicts, one set off in 2002 and the other, an aftermath of the presidential elections in 2010. Both led to massive population disturbances, displacing about thousands of people on each occasion. During the conflicts, fighters assaulted several women sexually. The worst-hit areas were the western administrative regions of Cavally, Guenon, and Tonpki, that had the highest concentration of arms. It was often referred to as the “Wild West” by Non-governmental Organizations and journalists. Women endured the hardest of the conflicts with the presence of fighters on all sides including mercenaries from neighboring countries especially Liberia. Usually, women’s fate was either to be killed or to be raped.
According to reports by several international and national NGOs, sexual violence on women trapped in the Ivorian conflict zones was not only unremitting, but became so pervasive and systematic as to have reached dreadful levels of brutality and inhumanity. Higonnet reported that victims spoke of brutal sexual assaults on wives, sisters and daughters, that husbands, brothers and fathers were forced to watch or commit incest. Some were pulled off from transport vehicles and raped en masse. Fighters from both sides had also inserted guns, sticks and other objects into their victims’ genitals. Numerous women were captured and subjected to sexual slavery in rebel camps where they endured different forms of sexual abuse over prolonged periods of time. Resistance to captors was commonly met with awful punishments or death. Some sex slaves, daunted by their captors and other circumstances, felt helpless to escape their life of sexual slavery. Also, the period of active armed conflicts in Cote d’Ivoire is over, however, Human Rights Watch disclosed that there are still cases of sexual violence related to the Ivorian armed conflicts perpetrated by former soldiers, even by peacekeepers.
To address this situation, the Ivorian Government took some legislative and administrative measures. Also, the country adopted a four-year (2008-2012) action plan with regards to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The UN resolution was the first to address the impact of conflict on women during the conflicts and post conflicts periods. The resolution called on all states to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Notwithstanding those efforts, it seems that the measures remain mere resolutions leaving a big gap between de jure and de facto. In Cote d’Ivoire, the war may be over for the majority of the population but for the victims of sexual violence there is no difference.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is observed that Ivorian women are still struggling with the consequences of the atrocities perpetrated against them. Some victims are even contemplating suicide. They are stigmatized and rejected by spouses and sometimes expelled from their communities. Therefore, victims have on their hearts, more than the scars of their unfortunate past. Moreover, there are hindrances to the full rehabilitation of the women, categorized as victims of sexual violence in the Western region of Cote d’Ivoire. While it may be easy to attribute the failure of effective rehabilitation to government’s letdown to provide legally responsive measures to the needs of the victims, though there are women’s rights provisions in the Ivorian law, it seems that the enforcement of these laws is ineffective, leaving these women at great risk. Furthermore, according to the UN Security Council report, sexual crimes during the Ivorian conflicts are under-reported and under-investigated. Thus, the magnitude of the ills perpetrated is not fully evaluated.
Also, there is no record of victims pursuing their cases in courts which may be due to the costly legal fees, the ignorance of their own rights, the shame and stigmatization attached to sexual violence. In rare situations, when victims summon courage to speak out, there are other challenges that they face while seeking justice; the prosecutions of sexual violence are slow or inexistent. Thus, victims are of the view that they are forgotten and that sexual violence is a neglected issue in Cote d’Ivoire. How can these victims, who are waiting for justice see that justice is done, and how can these victims receive adequate rehabilitation for the atrocities committed against them? Thus, the dilemma of women due to the conflicts that occurred in Cote d’Ivoire in which their fundamental human rights were grossly violated and denied. These are the issues that this study seeks to explore in order to offer some recommendations for the justice and effective rehabilitation of the victims of sexual violence in Ivorian wartimes.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to examine the rehabilitative measures put in place for the women whose rights were violated by being subjected to varying forms of sexual violence during the armed conflicts in the Western Cote d’Ivoire.
The specific objectives are to:
- examine the scope of sexual violence in armed conflicts and the extant international legal mechanisms established to address the problem of conflict-related sexual violence;
- identify the peculiarities and dynamics of wartime sexual violence committed against women in the Western Region of Cote d’Ivoire;
- appraise the trauma of the women and their rights violated during the perpetration of conflict-related sexual violence in the Western Cote d’Ivoire;
- assess the appropriateness of the legal steps adopted by the intervening bodies to respond to the plight of victims in the Western Cote d’Ivoire.
1.4 Research Questions
The fundamental inquiry of this research is based on the rehabilitative measures put in place for the women whose rights were violated during the perpetration of sexual violence in the Western Cote d’Ivoire’s armed conflicts. This vital interrogation generates the following specific questions:
- What is the scope of sexual violence in armed conflicts and what are the extant international legal mechanisms established to address the problem of conflict-related sexual violence?
- What are the peculiarities and dynamics of wartime sexual violence committed against women in the Western region of Cote d’Ivoire?
- What is the extent of the trauma experienced by women and to what extent were their rights violated through the perpetration of sexual violence during Cote d’Ivoire wartime?
- How appropriate were the legal steps adopted by the intervening bodies to respond to the plight of victims in the Western Region of Cote d’Ivoire?
1.5 Justification for the Study
Women and girls in the Western Cote d’Ivoire who were sexually violated during the country’s armed conflicts are still waiting for justice. They have not yet received adequate rehabilitation for the atrocities committed against them. Therefore, this thesis seeks to address these issues with the expectation that the Ivorian government and other intervening bodies will initiate and sustain necessary steps to correct the wrongs perpetrated against female gender. This study is significant for the victims to showcase that the world is not blind to their plight. Moreover, this work is important for the Ivorian government in its enforcement of national laws and fulfillment of her international legal obligations; it can serve as a basis for the government’s drive to establish cases and laws to help victims of sexual abuse in armed conflict. Lastly, it is a tool for further research, a contribution to existing truth-seeking and initiatives for supporting and recognizing conflict-related sexual violence as a woman-rights violation in other conflict areas in the world.
1.6.Scope of the Study
The study is delineated to the period of armed conflicts in Cote d’Ivoire between the years 2002–2012. In 2002, the country joined the war zones of West Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone with a failed coup. In 2007, the belligerent parties signed the Ouagadougou political ceasefire agreement, but unfortunately it did not stop the conflict as there were still spots of conflicts throughout the country, the presidential election was postponed six times. Furthermore, in 2010, a disputed election between the current President, Allasane Ouattara and the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, erupted in another rebellion.
During these periods of fights and up to 2012, it was reported that sexual violence was perpetrated against the enemy women and men; nevertheless, women represented the majority of victims. Their fundamental rights were grossly violated therefore, the study focuses on sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls in Ivorian conflicts and post-conflicts situation. The Ivorian region under review is the western part. The zone comprises the “Cavally, Guemon and Tonpki”. The region experienced the most serious sexual abuses that occurred during the war. The area had more perpetrators such as the national armies, the rebels and the mercenaries of the neighboring countries, than the rest of the country. Mixed groups of Liberian and Sierra Leonean fighters operating as mercenaries in support of both the Ivorian government and rebel forces were responsible of the prevalent sexual abuses.
The scope of this work, therefore, comprised women whose rights were violated during the perpetration of sexual violence in the 2002-2012 Western Cote d’Ivoire armed conflicts. However, for a better understanding of the concept of sexual violence in armed conflicts, mentions of the different war zones in the world are made.
In this section, the researcher indicates the research design, the procedure of data collection and the ethical principles followed during the research.
1.7.1 Research Design
The methodology of this research is qualitative in nature. The research gives a systematic description of wartime sexual violence, how it constitutes women’s rights violation and what can be the best method for the rehabilitation and compensation for the victims.
1.7.2 The Collection of Data
The collection of data is threefold. First of all, data are gathered using library to get a desk study analysis of available scholarly literature on the circumstances and situations that resorted in the commission of sexual violence in armed conflicts. The library research is based on two sources: the primary source is centered on the International Human Rights Laws and Treaties, the International Humanitarian Laws, the International Criminal Laws, the discourse of the International Jurisprudence and the United Nations Resolutions. The secondary source is based on international and national non- governmental organizations’ reports on one hand and on the other hand, the countries action plans, books, articles, journals, research studies and press releases.
Secondly, the qualitative method was buttressed by semi structured interviews with the victims, witnesses and actors (women groups’ leaders, human rights activists, chiefs of communities and government authorities). The interviews were conducted in the three main areas of the Western region of the country which are the Cavally, the Guemon, and the Tompki. Some victims and witnesses were selected among the populations of the following towns of the three areas under study: Man, Danané, Toulepleu, Blolequin, Duékoué, and Guiglo. Lastly, field observation was done during the same period in which the interviews were conducted, with the observer’s role being supplementary to the interviewer’s role.
1.7.3 Ethical Consideration
The interviews were conducted with a victim-based approach in compliance with the ethical standards for research. Care was taken to ensure that victims do not experience further trauma in recounting their experiences and exposing them to physical risks; the researcher took into consideration the safety and security of interviewees before, during and after the discussion. Moreover, the researcher used the “Do No Harm” principle established by ethical organizations such as the”WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies,” the “Babcock University Health Research Ethics Committee” and the “International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict guide.” “Do No Harm” principle is established in order to investigate and document information of sexual violence in a way that capitalize on the access to justice for survivors, and reduces, as much as possible, any negative impact the documentation process may have upon them. It requires researchers to be always polite, respectful and attentive. It demands researchers to be especially aware of the cultural expectations. Thus, in the field, the researcher took particular care not to appear judgmental, disapproving or disbelieving at any point, either verbally, through the use of body language or facial expressions.
Each interview began with an explanation of the purpose of the survey and a request for verbal informed consent to participate in the survey. The participants were informed that the purpose of the investigation is to find out what women go through in war times. In addition, confidentiality of the survey data was protected in several ways. All witnesses and victims were interviewed individually. Most interviews were generally held in secured locations agreed upon with the informants to ensure safety and alley their fears of reprisal attacks. The interviews were mostly conducted in French since the country under review is a francophone country and the researcher speaks and writes French language fluently. Finally, the findings, (library works, interviews and observations) concerning the country under review were content-analyzed and interpreted in three chapters of this research paper (chapters four, five and six). Conclusions were carefully drawn. Pragmatic, action-oriented recommendations were put forward to alleviate the sufferings of sexual violence victims in Cote d’Ivoire armed conflicts.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Armed conflicts: The term is used to designate situations of war and crisis. The most authoritative definition of armed conflict is contained in the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) Appeal Chambers decision on jurisdiction in the TADIC: “…An armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed force between states or protracted armed violence between government authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within the state”.
Jus in bello is a Latin term which means that actions in war should be just and fair. Jusin bello includes two principles: dissimilarity and proportionality. Dissimilarity between civilians and soldiers, identification of the legitimate targets; proportionality defines how much power could be used.
De facto means a state of affairs that is true in fact. In this case study, it is referred to as the rehabilitation of victims which should be effective in reality.
De jure means a state of affairs that exists just in theory. Various laws are established to control behavior in war; the major challenge is the enforcement of the law.
Perpetrator isa person who commits an illegal, criminal, or evil act. The perpetrators, in this study, are the rebels, pro-government forces, mercenaries from Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ivorian police, UN peacekeepers, authorities who condoned the evil act.
Sexual Violence in this study refers to sexual violence in conflicts and post conflict settings, sexual abuse, and sexual assault.
Victims are women and girls. Generally, armed conflicts affect women and girls who represent the majority of victims of human rights violations.
Western Region of Cote d’ Ivoire: Cavally, Guemon, Tonpki.
Women: All female beings, babies, girls, adults and old. This definition is necessary because Perpetrators do not discriminate when it comes to perpetrating sexual violence in violent conflicts.
1.9 Synopsis of Chapters
The study is divided into seven chapters. Chapter one consists of the background to the study; it specifies the statement of the problem, formulates the objectives, sets the research questions, signifies how important the study is for the victims, the communities and for the government of Cote d’Ivoire at large and determines the scope of the study. It is also necessary to state that the methodology is discussed in this part of the study.
Chapter two reviews the literature on sexual violence in armed conflicts, in general, its patterns; its consequences on the lives of women, the legal interpretation of wartime sexual violence and the violation of women’s rights in regard to the perpetration of the evil. In addition, chapter two deals with the theoretical framework. Three theories are discussed; the first one is the “victimology theory” describing how women subjected to wartime sexual violence are victims of gross violations of their fundamental rights. The second one is the “inevitability of sexual violence in armed conflict theory” and the third one is the “feminist theory” so relevant for this study in treating the cases of female victims of violence.
Chapter three studies the extant international legal mechanisms established to address the problem of conflict-related sexual violence, its effectiveness and its gaps. The discussion is based firstly on the denunciation of the evil by women rights activists; secondly on the legislative measures put in place at the national and international level to curb the evil; thirdly on the judicial procedures instituted by the regional and international courts to prosecute the criminal act; and lastly on the reparations measures set up by the United Nations for the wartime sexual violence victims.
Chapter four describes the magnitude of the conflict-related sexual violence in the Western Cote d’Ivoire, the scope and nature, the particular forms of sexual violence used by bandits, the motivations of the criminals and the categories of the targeted victims.
Chapter five explicates the trauma of the females who were not only victimized but also polyvictimized and even revictimized sexually. Moreover, this chapter discusses how the violence inflicted on women annihilated their fundamentals rights.
Chapter six critically examines the rehabilitative measures established by the national, regional and international bodies in response to the ills perpetrated against women during the Cote d’Ivoire crisis. This chapter also analyzes how the Ivorian rehabilitative measures have been effectively executed from the office where resolutions are made to the village where the victim resides. It explores how victims are actually enjoying their rights to retributive and restorative justice.
Chapter seven, the last chapter of the thesis deals with the conclusions, summary and pertinent recommendations.
 Heineman, Elizabeth, Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).
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 Cammaert, Patrick, Commander of the United Nations Mission, peacekeeping forces in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC, 2008)
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 Human Rights Watch, Afraid and Forgotten, Lawlessness, Rape, and Impunity in Western Côte d’Ivoire , (Human Rights watch Report, 2010); Henderson, Artis, Lawlessness reigns in Ivory Coast’s ‘Wild West’ , (Associated Press Bostom, 2010).
 International Rescue Committee, Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire , International Federation of Human Rights, Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Organizations known as the Regroupement des Acteurs Ivoriens des Droits de l’Homme.
 Higonnet, E. “My Heart is Cut: Sexual Violence by Rebels and Pro-government Forces in Côte d’Ivoire ” (Human Rights Watch Report, 2007).
 Pender, Elizabeth, Côte d’Ivoire : Peace Process Fails to Address Sexual Violence, (International Rescue Committee, 2007).
 Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom, United Nations Office, Cote d’Ivoire National Action Plan,(PeaceWomen, 2007).
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 Ban Kin-Moon, Sexual violence in armed Conflicts United Nations, (Security Council report, 2014).
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 World Health Organization, Department of Gender, Women and Health, Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies, (World Health Organization Press, Switzerland, 2007); Babcock University Health Research Ethics committee, (NHREC/ 17/ 12/2013) http://www2.babcock.edu.ng/gallery/Research%20Ethics%20Committee%202015%20training/index.html. Accessed on June 16, 2014; International Protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict. (Report from Foreign & Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom, 2014),http://reliefweb.int/report/world/international-protocol-documentation-and-investigation-sexual-violence-conflict. Accessed on June 16, 2014. The first of its kind, is the product of the wisdom and experience of hundreds of people worldwide, a collaborative work of over 200 gender and sexual violence experts, survivors and organizations launched in June 2014 during the first ever global summit on sexual violence and armed conflicts held in London England the contents were “field tested” in countries such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo before publication.
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