Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Follow Us: Facebook Twitter
Browse by Region
map Americas Africa Asia and Pacific Europe Middle East and North Africa
International Women’s Day 2008 Media Coverage
14 Mar 2008
Dear all,

On March 8, organizations from around the world joined together to celebrate International Women's Day. This year, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) issued a related media advisory which was circulated on this listserv last week. Find below relevant media coverage.

We invite you to visit our updated gender page at to learn more.

Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to
provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.

Sasha Tenenbaum
Information Services Coordinator
Coalition for International Criminal Court
[email protected]


i. “Human Rights Council Continues Discussion with Special Procedures on Enforced Disappearances, Sale of Children and Torture,” Press Release (UN Human Rights Council), 11 March 2008,$File/full_report.pdf

“…Ines Kwan (Canada) welcomed the efforts of the Special Rapporteur on torture to mainstream gender equality and combat violence against women through his promotion of a gender-inclusive approach to human rights work in this area. Canada condemned rape and sexual violence in all circumstances, including their use against persons in detention. Canada acknowledged the role of the international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court in the recognition of rape as a form of torture and broadening the scope of crimes of sexual violence that could be prosecuted under this rubric. …”

ii.. “Invest for women and girls,” Eoin Young (MONUC), 7 March 2008

“In the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8 March next, a workshop was organized in Kinshasa by MONUC’s Public Information and Gender Divisions on 7 March 2008, which aimed at stimulating dialogue between public and social leaders for the promotion of women in the DRC.

…According to Mr. Mountain, three key issues are the increase of access for girls to primary education, an adequate representation of women in the national institutions, as well as an end to impunity for sexual violence in the DRC.

During the day long workshop, the participants also exchanged perspectives on reinforcing the rights of Congolese women and young girls, and they identified the key domains and actors, with the goal of conceiving strategies to ensure that the gender laws are applied in the DRC, so that full economic and social progress can be achieved.”
iii. “OHCHR-Nepal Representative urges end to 35-day limit for filing rape charges, to mark International Women's Day,” Richard Bennett Press Conference Speech,” 7 March 2008,
“…Having more women involved in the lawmaking process should contribute
towards the elimination of discriminatory legal provisions, which is one of the most important measures for enhancing the participation of women in public life and in the fight against impunity.

…In a press release issued for International Women's Day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says - 'Efforts to combat violence against women will be severely hampered so long as the legal frameworks to protect them, ensure their rights, and grant them the
possibility of economic and social independence, are inadequate ... Many states are failing to live up to their promises to review their laws and root out institutional discrimination, and millions of women continue to suffer grave injustices as a result.’

iv. “International Women Day: Support them!” Press Statement (Vision GRAM-International), 8 March 2008, [in French]

“On the occasion of the International Woman Day, we wish to confirm our solidarity with these thousands of women and girls victims of war and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. …

These are the worst crimes that the Rome status of International Criminal Court has recognized as crimes against humanity. And those responsible must not remain unpunished, although they are still free. They have to answer for their crimes in front of a national and international court.

We think that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo will do everything so that the norms of the Status of Rome will be applied and that concrete measures will be taken to stop the criminals and put an end of their impunity. …”

Translation is unofficial and provided by the CICC Secretariat.


i. The CICC International Women’s Day press release was mentioned by several media outlets, including:

a- “International Women’s Day Global Coalition Says National Implementation of Rome Statute Critical to Ending Impunity for Violence against Women,” Common Dreams, 6 March 2008

b- “Global Coalition Says National Implementation of Rome Statute Critical to Ending Impunity for Violence against Women,” Yemen Times, 8 March 2008

c- “NGO calls for end to crimes against women,” Le Mali, 7 March 2008

ii. “Triumph for women's rights’ not yet a success,” by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger (Vancouver Sun), 3 March 2008,

“….Hailed as a triumph for women's rights, the Rome Statue was to put an end to the impunity that's often met these crimes. Six years on, as the world gets set once again to mark International Women's Day on Saturday, progress in the Court has been painfully slow.

‘We have yet to see the investigative approach needed to ensure the prosecution of gender-based crimes,’ says Brigid Inder, the executive director of Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, a Hague-based organization that promotes and monitors women's rights in the ICC.

The numbers paint a disappointing picture…This is despite the fact that women continue to be common targets in conflicts around the world. …

At the crux of the ICC's slow progress is the court's inability to identify enough victims, especially female ones. The stigma of sexual violence can be a huge burden for women in many communities, forcing them to remain silent. Many also come from places where women are second-class citizens, meaning they are given few chances to step forward even if they wanted to.

According to the 2007 ICC Gender Report Card published by Inder's organization, barely a third of the 500 victims who have applied to participate in ICC proceedings are women. With so few cases, just 17 of those 500 have been officially identified as victims by the court so far.…”

For more complete coverage of the issues discussed in this article, please find Brigid Inder’s speech on the launch of the Gender Report Card:

This article was also reprinted or discussed in the following publications:

a- “Women's Rights Still Lag Behind at ICC,” The Huffington Post, 11 March 2008

b- “Justice slow for female war victims,” The Star (Canada), 3 March 2008

iii. “March 8th, International Women’s Day: Whom the Goddesses would destroy, they first make unaware,” by Rene Wadlow (Newropeans Magazine), 6 March 2008

“The goddesses have a sense of tragic irony by bringing together anniversary dates with events which highlight the opposition to the values being celebrated. Thus this year, with ironic timing, the world marks March 8th as International Women’s Day celebrating respect and equality of women with a new round of fighting in Darfur, Sudan in which women are special targets. …

We are a long way from the disarmament, demobilization, and re-integration of militias called for by the UN Security Council. Nor is there much hope of seeing those who have committed crimes and especially those who ordered these policies put on trial, although investigations by the International Criminal Court are being carried out and need to be encouraged. …”

iv. “Women's Day, a time to grieve, a time to be inspired,” by Joanne Tomkinson (Reuters), 6 March 2008,

“…In honour of International Women's Day on March 8, the media is reporting heavily on the soaring rates of violence against women around the globe. …

Justice systems for female victims are also failing to deliver, according to Canadian newspaper the Toronto Star. The International Criminal Court (ICC), the world's first permanent tribunal to prosecute war crimes, has clear statutes to enable it to take legal action on gender-based crimes such as rape and sexual slavery, but progress towards getting justice for female victims has been painfully slow.

Many women are reluctant to come forward to speak about their experiences of sexual violence, and the ICC has officially identified just 17 victims of these crimes so far.

The stigma associated with sexual violence can be huge burden for women, forcing them into silence, the paper writes. The ICC needs to do more to reach out to female victims in conflict zones to help them come forward.

Women are vital for the wider health and vibrancy of children and families, the Star says, and combating gender-based violence is important for the well-being of whole communities. …”



i. “Thousands of Congolese women demand justice and equality,”Agence France Presse, 8 March 2008, [in French]

“Thousands of women on Saturday in towns throughout east DRC came together to demand an end to impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. In the capital city of Goma,women marched onto the city’s stadium, challenging the authorities on their responsibility for the protection of citizens.

…During a meeting of thousands of women in Bukavu, capital of the South-Kivu, Jean-Paul Ngongo, president of a local NGO fighting against sexual violence, pointed out the cruel lack of hospital infrastructure for treating rape victims…

…In Bukavu, women from different districts converged in the middle of town, holding up traffic for nearly four hours and holding up signs reading ‘End impunity now’, ‘Schooling for all’, ‘We are tired sexual violence.’...."

Translation is unofficial and provided by the CICC Secretariat

ii. “Investing in women: Women lawyers discussed the fight against violence,” by Regine Kiala (Le Potentiel), 11 March 2008,

"On 8 March, the League of the Lawyers of the Bar of Kinshasa/Matete (LABKM) co-organized, a day of reflexion…. Carine Bapita, a lawyer at the ICC, said ‘…justice must reinforce the mechanisms of protection for women's rights guaranteed by the law, with the impartial support of magistrates who make repression and the fight against impunity their battle.’ Speaking on the topic "Investing in Peace and Security for Women and Children," Ms. Bapita let it be known that in fact the DRC has made the ICC possible to exist. But, out of 250 lawyers, only 20 are Congolese of which only 2 are women sitting at the ICC. The president of LABKM, Anita Tamba, for its part, presented her association...."

Translation is unofficial and provided by the CICC Secretariat

See also:

a-“Congo-Kinshasa: Ambassade de France - Lancement des campagnes pour les droits des femmes et de l'enfant (French Embassy - Launching of women and children's rights campaign)”, by Martin Enyimo (Le Potentiel), 7 March 2008

b- “Catholic Leaders Raise Concern At ‘Epidemic of Sexual Violence,’” (Catholic Information Service for Africa), 7 March 2008


i. “Desafiando el silencio: Medios contra la violencia sexual,” Press Release (Humanas – Colombia), 11 March 2008

During the celebration of the IWD, Humanas – Colombia (CICC Member) launched a new campaign: “Defying Justice: Media against sexual violence,” addressing the lack of information on violation of women rights in the local and regional media.

Summary is based on unofficial translation provided by the CICC Secretariat

ii. “Bachelet encabeza festejos por Dia de la Mujer,” by Daniela Estrada (IPS/Diario DigitalRD.Com), 7 March 2008

“… ‘If we compare the situation of Chilean women before 1990 when the first left wing government won the elections, to the current one, we can celebrate,’ said the President of the ONG Humanas Lorena Fries to IPS, referring ton the International Women’ Day. Nevertheless, she is very strict in terms of the President’s agenda with regards to women rights and highlights that Chile has not yet ratified the ICC, among other human right treaties that protect women….”

Translation is unofficial and provided by the CICC Secretariat.

CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the Court. The CICC is an
independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the
International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent
international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the
most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate
global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC.
The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to
raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as
they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not
endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a
position on situations (potential and current), or situations under
analysis before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse
referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or
develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course
of their efforts.
Communications to the ICC can be sent to:
P.O. Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands