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International Humanitarian Law

III.12 States must investigate and prosecute CRSV

States must take all measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the Geneva Conventions. Generally, States may determine the best way to fulfil this obligation, for example by instituting judicial or disciplinary proceedings for violations of the Conventions, adopting administrative or other regulatory measures, or issuing instructions to subordinates. The measures chosen depend on the gravity and the circumstances of the violation. The punishment should be proportional to its severity.

As serious violations of IHL, including CRSV, constitute war crimes in both IAC and NIAC, a stricter response is required. Individuals are criminally responsible for their commission. Accordingly, States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

III.14 States must investigate CRSV

Under article 12, States Parties must undertake prompt, effective and impartial investigations when there are reasonable grounds to believe that torture or ill-treatment has been committed in any territory under their jurisdiction. The authorities should do so even in the absence of a formal complaint. Under article 13, investigations must allow individuals to have their case promptly and impartially examined. States should ensure that investigations include as a standard measure an independent physical and psychological forensic examination of the victim/survivor as provided in the Istanbul Protocol.

In cases of sexual violence, including suspected sexual violence against children, the Committee has urged States to automatically initiate effective and impartial investigations and court proceedings. When sexual violence has allegedly been committed by a State's security forces, an independent body should lead the investigation.

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

III.15 States must prosecute CRSV

Under article 5(1), a State must take measures to prosecute torture or ill-treatment:

    When committed in any territory under its jurisdiction; When the alleged perpetrator is a national of that State; and/or When the victim is a national of that State.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention)

III.3 States must punish CRSV

States must not afford impunity to those who commit genocide: States must punish perpetrators of any of the acts listed in article III, whether they are heads of state, public officials or private actors. States must also provide effective penalties for perpetrators of genocide in their domestic law.

Under article VI, only a State on whose territory any of the acts listed in article III were committed must prosecute the perpetrators in a competent tribunal of that State. Alternatively, perpetrators must be tried by an international penal tribunal whose jurisdiction States Parties have accepted. While article VI does not prohibit other States from prosecuting any of the acts listed in article III, they are not under an obligation to do so.

Introduction

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International Humanitarian Law

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International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

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Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

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Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

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African Union System

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Council of Europe System

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Inter-American Human Rights System

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