Practice Relating to Rule 93. Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands restates the prohibition of sexual violence found in common Article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Articles 75–77 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and Article 4 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “women should be protected from rape and other sexual violence”.
The manual refers to “rape, forced prostitution and any form of indecent assault” as acts that “are, and remain, prohibited at all times
(emphasis in original)
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
1051. It is expressly prohibited to carry out the following acts against the civilian population or individual civilians, wounded, sick or prisoners:
- outrages upon personal dignity, especially humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, forced prostitution, sterilization and indecent assault;
- threatening anyone with the above-mentioned acts or treatment.
1062. Any indecent assault on women is prohibited, especially rape, forced pregnancy with a view to influencing the ethnic composition of the population, or committing any other international offence, forced prostitution or any other form of sexual violence.
The Definition of War Crimes Decree (1946) of the Netherlands includes “rape” and “abduction of girls and women for the purpose of enforced prostitution” in its list of war crimes.
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence which can be deemed to be of a gravity comparable to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions”, “forced pregnancy”, as well as “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” of persons taking no active part in the hostilities, constitute crimes, whether committed in time of international or non-international armed conflict.
In a letter to parliament in 1993, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands condemned the maltreatment and rape of women in the former Yugoslavia.