During several recent conflicts, such as the ones in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, women and girls – but sometimes also men and boys – were abducted and enslaved into so-called forced marriages. The Special Court for Sierra Leone issued several judgments in which it discussed the legal qualification of the act of forced marriage. In its most recent judgment, the trial judgment in the case against Charles Taylor, the Trial Chamber held that forced marriage amounts to sexual slavery. This article briefly discusses the relevant case law on forced marriage and examines the Trial Chamber’s conclusion in the Charles Taylor Judgement that forced marriage is a form of sexual slavery. For this purpose, the definition of enslavement is analysed and the parameters of this crime are set out. Building on the reasoning of the Trial Chamber in the Taylor case, the article concludes that forced marriage does indeed amount to a slavery crime and is best qualified as the broader crime of enslavement.
International Criminal Law Review – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2013
Keywords: international criminal law; forced marriage; enslavement; sexual slavery; crimes against humanity
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