A new convention on crimes against humanity (CAH) is in its final draft stages, but most civil society groups including women, LGBTIQ, disability, Indigenous, aboriginal, youth, caste, and racial and ethnic minority rights groups have not weighed in.
While the current treaty draft embraces strong language from the Rome Statute (which created the International Criminal Court (ICC)), including gender as a protected class from persecution, it also adopts an opaque definition of gender.
WHERE IS THE PROGRESS ON GENDER?
The last two decades of international law have clarified that women’s rights and LGBTIQ rights are human rights, making the gender definition contained in the Rome Statute opaque.
Strong convention language that complies with existing human rights law would be an invaluable tool for confronting impunity and enhancing state efforts to prevent and punish gender-based crimes. However, a text that does not understand gender could sideline women and other marginalized victims and result in even greater impunity for gender-based crimes amounting to crimes against humanity.