Practice Relating to Rule 93. Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment.
Norway’s Penal Code (1902), as amended in 2008, states:
Any person is liable to punishment for a war crime who in connection with an armed conflict … subjects a protected person to rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.
The Penal Code further states: “A protected person is a person who does not take, or who no longer takes, active part in hostilities, or who is otherwise protected under international law.”
In 2009, in a White Paper on “Climate, Conflict and Capital”, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
Women and children are particularly severely affected when abuse is systematically used as a weapon of war and armed conflicts. Women and girls are often subjected to brutal violence. Sexual violence as a strategy of war increases the level of conflict and prevents women from taking part in the reconciliation process. The association of masculinity with dominant behaviour and aggression means that boys are easily recruited to armed groups, and can also increase the brutality in the abuse of women and girls. UN Security Council resolution 1820 recognises the extent and seriousness of the use of rape as a weapon in armed conflicts. The importance of ensuring that girls’ and women’s needs and interests are met in armed conflicts and humanitarian crises is also underlined in UN Security Council resolution 1325.
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council on “Protecting Women and Girls in Armed Conflict”, the permanent representative of Norway stated:
Norway would like to take this opportunity to focus on two main issues, namely the need for increased respect for International Humanitarian Law, and the need to effectively combat sexual violence and rape in armed conflict.
Women and children are often forced to bear the heaviest burden when it comes to the consequences of armed conflict. Sexual violence and rape occurs every single day in armed conflicts and has tragic consequences, not only for the individual but for the whole community. Sexual violence leaves lasting scars for many generations to come making peace-building extremely difficult. It is crucial that these acts are not viewed as separate individual crimes. In many cases they are calculated tactics of war and should be treated as such. Crimes of rape and sexual violence in armed conflict must be placed higher on the international agenda. The systematic use of rape has rightly been recognized as a crime of war both by this Council and the International Criminal Court.
Norway would also like to see the Security Council make use of the most effective measures at its disposal, including targeted sanctions, to make it clear that sexual violence is unacceptable, and that perpetrators will be held accountable. It is unacceptable that impunity for these extremely severe crimes seems to be the rule, not the exception. Norway supports the referral of such crimes to the International Criminal Court and to consider sanctions against member states as well as non-state actors that perpetrate these acts of crime. As Member States it is also our obligation to ensure that violators are brought to justice.
… Combating impunity and holding perpetrators accountable is [the] key to protecting civilians in armed conflict and ending sexual violence.
In 2010, in a statement at the Oslo Conference on Armed Violence, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: “Women need protection against rape used as a tactic of war, as much as they need protection against forms of violence used in the context of crime.”
In 2010, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”, the counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN stated:
It is of particular concern that women continue to be targets of sexual violence in conflict, and in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our top priority must be to end the vicious cycle of impunity. We must provide justice for survivors, punishment for perpetrators and effective deterrence for the future. For war-affected women, justice delayed is more than justice denied – it is terror continued.
In 2010, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the “Rule of Law”, the counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN stated:
Over the last years, Norway has increased efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians, especially women and children, against the atrocities of war, with particular focus on the sexual violence that has been perpetrated in connection with the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sexual violence constitutes one of the most serious contemporary international crimes. The consequences are dramatic not only for the victims, but also for their families and affected communities.