Prosecute; don't perpetrate

Presenter/s: Susan Hutchinson; Gai Brodtmann; Geoffrey Skillen; Nikki Marczak

Event type: Public lecture


Event type: Panel

Event date: Thursday, 23 November 2017 - 6:00pm

Event venue: Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Building # 130 Garran Road, ANU

Ending impunity for sexual violence in armed conflict

Sexual violence has always happened in times of war. These gendered crimes are often being perpetrated outside the jurisdiction of institutions willing and able to bring the perpetrators to justice. In 2014, Angelina Jolie and William Hague launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative with projects to aid in the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict. But the crimes are still overlooked.

Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war, constituent of genocide and in crimes against humanity by Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. Since 2011, over 30 000 people have travelled from 89 countries to fight with Da’esh and other extremist organisations in Iraq and Syria. Many of those people come from countries where war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide are outlawed under domestic legislation. What if those countries simply prosecuted the perpetrators?

Susan Hutchinson will deliver a Ted style talk on sexual violence perpetrated by Da’esh in Syria and Iraq, the situation internationally, and how Australia can help end impunity through investigations and prosecutions. Her talk will be followed by a high-level panel discussion covering the political, legal and victim perspectives on the issue. International humanitarian law is one of the key legal frameworks under which prosecution of these crimes can occur. Geoff Skillen will speak to the law and practicalities of investigating and prosecuting these crimes. While justice is an important social good, it is also driven by service to survivors. Nikki works with Yazidi survivors of Da'esh and advocates for recognition and justice. Although Australia has legislation criminalising these acts, political will is needed to ensure their implementation. Gai Brodtmann will speak to the issues through a parliamentary lens.

This event will be recorded for posting on the International Day for Women’s Human Rights’ Defenders on the 29th November.

Susan Hutchinson is the architect of the prosecute; don’t perpetrate campaign. Susan’s civil-military career in conflict and development has seen her working in government, the military and non-government organisations. She is an expert in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and is currently undertaking her PhD at the Coral Bell School of the ANU. Her opinions have been published in The Canberra Times, The Lowy Institute’s Interpreter and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Strategist. Susan is also a member of the Australian Civil Society Coalition for Women, Peace and Security

Gai Brodtmann is the Federal Member for Canberra and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence. She has championed the prosecute; don’t perpetrate campaign in Federal Parliament. She has made several speeches on the issues and recently sponsored a motion calling for the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence perpetrated by Australians in Syria and Iraq.

Nikki Marczak is the Director of Yazda Australia and Deputy Director of Yazidi advocate Nadia Murad’s campaign. Nikki is a genocide scholar with a research focus on women’s experiences during genocide. She is a member of the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, co-editor of Genocide Perspectives, and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute’s 2016 Lemkin Scholar.

Geoff Skillen had careers as a legal officer in the Australian Defence Force and with the Office of International Law in the Attorney-General’s Department from 1975 to 2010. He is now an Adjunct Professor at the ANU College of Law. He works in several international law disciplines, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and criminal law. He is a long standing member of the Red Cross movement, and since 2010 he has been the Chair of Australian Red Cross’s national committee on International Humanitarian Law.

Please register for this event here.

This event is sponsored by the ANU Gender Institute and the Centre for Military and Security Law

» podcast (mp3, 76.5 MB) Duration 1 hour 26 minutes. Recording starts at 9:18.


Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute