1st Edition

War and Rape
Law, Memory and Justice

ISBN 9780415564731
Published January 18, 2011 by Routledge
184 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Wartime rape has been virulent in wars of sovereignty, territory, conquest, religion, ideology and liberation, yet attention to this crime has been sporadic throughout history. Rape remains ‘unspeakable’, particularly within law. Moreover, rape has not featured prominently in post-conflict collective memory. And even when rape is ‘remembered’, it is often the subject of political controversy and heated debate.

In this book, Henry asks some critical questions about the relationship between mass rape, politics and law. In what ways does law contribute to the collective memory of wartime rape? How do ‘counter-memories’ of victims compete with the denialism of wartime rape? The text specifically analyses the historical silencing of rape throughout international legal history and the potential of law to restore these silenced histories, it also examines the violence of law and the obstacles to individual and collective redemption. Tracing the prosecution of rape crimes within contemporary courts, Henry seeks to argue that politics underscores the way rape is dealt with by the international community in the aftermath of armed conflict.

Providing a comprehensive overview of the politics of wartime rape and the politics of prosecuting such crimes within international humanitarian law, this text will be of great interest to scholars of gender and security, war crimes and law and society.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: How the Past is Made to Matter  2. Traces of Truth: Collective Memory and the Law  3. A History of Silence: The Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials  4. Casualties of Law: Wartime Rape and War Crimes Courts  5. Trials and Trauma: The Impossibility of Bearing Witness  6. Wartime Rape and the Legacy of Law 

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Nicola Henry is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Her central research interest is the relationship between politics and law and how this can be understood in relation to violence against women, trauma, collective memory and human rights.


'Nicola Henry has written an erudite and powerfully argued book about the role of law in constructing collective memories of sexual violation in wartime.' - Joanna Bourke, Gender & Development, Vol. 19, 2, July 2011

'The book is well written and is great use to anyone interested in gender studies, war studies and legal studies or collective memory issues.' Rasa Balockaite, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania