Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law: book launch marks key WPS anniversary

Dr Catherine O’Rourke of the Transitional Justice Institute launched her new book, Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law, in an online event marking the anniversary of a key UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security.

Part of Trinity College Dublin’s Law School Author Series, the discussion was timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which was adopted on 31 October 2000. Speaking at the same time as the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security at the UN Security Council on 29 October 2020, the event featured Dr O’Rourke in discussion with Aisling Swaine, Professor of Gender Studies, UCD, and Aoife O’Donoghue, Professor of International Law and Global Governance, Durham University, together with host Donna Lyons. Dr O’Rourke introduced her new book, Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law, and took comments and questions from the co-presenters about the book and the current state of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

A recording of the event is now available. Watch the event in full on YouTube.

About ‘Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law’

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Written by Dr Catherine O’Rourke, Director of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, the book uses case studies to reveal the implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict.

Laws and norms that focus on women’s lives in conflict have proliferated across the regimes of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and the United Nations Security Council. While separate institutions, with differing powers of monitoring and enforcement, implement these laws and norms, the activities of regimes overlap. Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law is the first book to account for this pluralism and institutional diversity. This book identifies key aspects of how different regimes regulate women’s rights in conflict, and how they interact. Using country case studies to reveal the practical implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict, this book offers a dynamic account of how regimes and institutions interact, the extent to which they reinforce each other, and the tensions and gaps in regulation that emerge.

  • Counters siloed analysis by looking across various key regimes
  • Looks at interactions in order to take a dynamic approach in examining institutions
  • Explores case studies to reveal what fragmentation in law means in practice for the regulation of women’s rights in conflict

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020) identifies key aspects of how different regimes regulate women’s rights in conflict, and how they interact. Using country case studies to reveal the practical implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict, this book offers a dynamic account of how regimes and institutions interact, the extent to which they reinforce each other, and the tensions and gaps in regulation that emerge. A policy summary drawn from the book is also available.

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law is an output of the Political Settlements Research Programme.

Further Reading

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020) by Catherine O’Rourke

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law  identifies key aspects of how different regimes regulate women’s rights in conflict, and how they interact. Using country case studies to reveal the practical implications of the fragmented protection of women’s rights in conflict, this book offers a dynamic account of how regimes and institutions interact, the extent to which they reinforce each other, and the tensions and gaps in regulation that emerge.

 

Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (Policy Brief) by Catherine O’Rourke

Protections for women’s rights in armed conflict (WRAC) have proliferated under international law in the last three decades. Consequently, there is now a wide range of international institutions engaged in defining, monitoring and enforcing women’s rights in different conflicts under international law. Key institutions of relevance include the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), human rights treaty-bodies, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The increase in institutional activity is a broadly positive development. Nevertheless, there is significant scope to strengthen the legal status of specific protections to women’s rights; to improve how key institutions comply with and implement their own guarantees of women’s rights; to improve coordination amongst key institutions; and to maximise the strengths of different monitoring and enforcement procedures to protect and promote different women’s rights in different conflict settings. This policy brief elaborates these key findings and concludes with recommendations to a range of key actors.

 

Conflict-Related Violence Against Women: Transforming Transition by Aisling Swaine

By comparatively assessing three conflict-affected jurisdictions (Liberia, Northern Ireland and Timor-Leste), Conflict-Related Violence against Women empirically and theoretically expands current understanding of the form and nature of conflict-time harms impacting women. The ‘violences’ that occur in conflict beyond strategic rape are first identified. Employing both a disaggregated and an aggregated approach, relations between forms of violence within and across each context’s pre-, mid- and post-conflict phase are then assessed, identifying connections and distinctions in violence. Swaine highlights a wider spectrum of conflict-related violence against women than is currently acknowledged. She identifies a range of forces that simultaneously push open and close down spaces for addressing violence against women through post-conflict transitional justice. The book proposes that in the aftermath of conflict, a transformation rather than a transition is required if justice is to play a role in preventing gendered violence before conflict and its appearance during and after conflict.