“This ruling provides an opportunity to send a clear message that conflict-related sexual violence is a crime against humanity and that no matter how long it takes perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura.
This latest ruling of the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) will allow acts of sexual violence, namely forced marriage and rape, to be included in its case against three former Khmer Rouge officials who have been charged with crimes against humanity and genocide.
Nearly two million people are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. Since then, countless victims have come forward to tell their stories of forced marriage, sexual slavery, rape and other forms of sexual violence.
“The use of forced marriage in particular was systematic and widespread, employed by the regime to secure loyalty to the Government by breaking family bonds and taking a major life decision, who to marry, out of the hands of citizens and entrusting it to the State,” Ms. Bangura said. – United Nations News Centre