The Case of Female Perpetrators of International Crimes: Exploratory Insights and New Research Directions

Research paper by Ferizović J.

Indexed on: 24 Sep '20Published on: 21 Sep '20Published in: European Journal of International Law


AbstractAlthough conflicts are often considered to be an exclusively male domain, historical records of conflicts throughout the 20th century show that women also actively participate in warfare – not only as peace activists, humanitarian workers, health care providers, politicians and soldiers but also as perpetrators of crimes. Nevertheless, the participation of women in the commission of international crimes, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has long been considered an anomaly that falls beyond the ‘normal’ scope of conflict-related criminality. Consequently, this topic has been deemed marginal in scholarly circles and, until recently, has remained significantly under-researched. This article contributes to the existing research by presenting an original analysis of the characteristics of conflict-related criminality among women and of criminal prosecutions of female perpetrators of international crimes in modern conflicts, primarily focusing on World War II, and the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. It further offers a first systematic overview and analysis of domestic trials of women prosecuted for international crimes before the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.