About the Project



The Gender Jurisprudence and International Criminal Law Project is a collaborative project between the War Crimes Research Office (WCRO) and the Women and International Law Program (WILP) at American University Washington College of Law. Launched with support from the Open Society Institute’s International Women’s Program, the project aims to raise awareness of and encourage research and debate about the jurisprudence emerging from international and hybrid tribunals regarding sexual and gender-based violence committed during times of conflict, mass violence, or repression and to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of these crimes under international law.


Gender Jurisprudence Collections

The Gender Jurisprudence Collections (GJC) is a powerful database containing judgments, decisions, orders, and other relevant documents issued by international/ized criminal courts and tribunals that have been coded and made readily searchable for issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence.


This unique research tool was conceived in response to a request by experts – convened in 2008 by the WCRO and WILP for a conference entitled Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes before International/ized Criminal Courts– who lamented that the absence of a modern, comprehensive, searchable, online database of materials related to the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes by international and hybrid criminal courts and tribunals made research in this area particularly challenging.


The Gender Jurisprudence Collections was, thus, created to allow judges, practitioners, academics, and other researchers to easily search the jurisprudence from these courts and tribunals for documents containing gender-specific issues and keywords. Significantly, unlike computerized Google-based searches that generate hundreds of irrelevant decisions containing matching words, the GJC contains jurisprudence which has been pre-screened by our staff and coded for gender and sexual violence issues, eliminating researchers' need to sift through extraneous documents. Containing not only trial and appeals judgments but also indictments, chamber decisions, orders, and other documents issued by these international/ized courts, the Collections capture important decisions from the pre-trial through the appeal stage of proceedings that may go unnoticed but which may have important consequences for how sexual and gender-based violence is addressed by the tribunals.



In addition to the Gender Jurisprudence Collections, the Project includes concise digests of select decisions and court documents highlighting key facts, allegations, and legal analyses dealing with sexual and gender-based violence. The digests provide a summary of the procedural history leading to the decision along with the disposition and a synopsis of the gender issues discussed in the decision with reference to relevant documents, allowing researchers to quickly home in on content that is most relevant to the chosen research topic. The digests are both easily accessed from the GJC and conveniently link to the decisions they summarize within the GJC, giving users multiple research tools all within the Project site.



The Project also includes commentaries on select issues or cases critical to understanding developments in this area of the law by academics, practitioners, judges, prosecutors, and legal scholars with particular expertise in the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence For instance, a commentary might include important aspects of the case that might not appear in the written opinions, such as the role played by special advisors to the court, or external political pressures that surrounded the tribunal at the time of the litigation. The idea is to highlight important institutional contexts in which the case or issue was decided, the effect it has (or has not had) on subsequent cases, or other noteworthy aspects of the case or issue. In some cases, the Project will include multiple commentaries from different authors exploring various aspects or competing understandings of the case or issue. In others, the case or issue might be framed in the context of broader feminist discussions within the field of international criminal law more generally.



In addition to the GJC, the Project offers a dynamic space for the international law community to engage in honest, insightful, and grounded discussions of ideas, programs, data, laws, and policies about current feminist debates within the field of international criminal law.