Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation

Legal advocacy

Working with governments to halt and prevent sexual violence

Courts and tribunals like the International Criminal Court (ICC) have made huge contributions in the fight against sexual violence. They put rebel leaders and military commanders on trial for using rape as a method of warfare.

However, trials are slow and target only very few perpetrators.

Sexual violence in wars is committed by a large number of people, sometimes systematically or with a policy.

Therefore, we believe it is crucial to call on governments to address the causes and the consequences of large scale sexual violence. We aim to bring together like-minded governments that are willing use their diplomatic power to make clear that sexual violence is not tolerated.

EU mechanism to enforce legal responsibility of states

We propose the creation of a standardized EU mechanism to prevent and end sexual violence. European countries have the tools to enforce international law, for example by sanctioning states for their failures, imposing travel bans or setting conditions for trade and development aid.

Coordinated action by the EU would establish a clear responsibility of states to act against large-scale sexual violence. Public naming and shaming can be an effective tool in preventing and halting large-scale violence.

Moral responsibility: Create an international reparations fund

The issue of reparations for grave crimes has been largely neglected. In most countries, victims only receive financial compensation if a perpetrator is convicted. In cases of conflict-related sexual violence, however, most perpetrators are never identified or caught.

In most countries, victims of sexual violence receive no reparations at all.

Therefore, another approach to reparations is necessary.

We support the establishment of an international reparations fund which would enable victims of sexual violence to receive assistance. Reparations can make a real difference in the daily lives of thousands of survivors worldwide. They can help to rebuild a society and contribute to ending the stigma.

Different forms of reparations

Reparations can include various forms, ranging from assistance to individuals to rebuild their lives, to ceremonies or monuments for communities to acknowledge what happened.

By supporting a reparations fund, governments take their moral responsibility and express that they stand on the side of the victims.

We work to:
1) establish an international fund for survivors of sexual violence

2) involve EU states in the fight against sexual violence