Hogan Lovells calls for reparations for victims of sexual violence in conflict

London, 30 January 2020 – Global law firm Hogan Lovells is calling for justice for victims of sexual violence in conflict, through a proposal, titled "Finance for Restorative Justice". 

Produced in conjunction with REDRESS, an international human rights organisation that represents victims of torture, the report sets out the case for the use of existing international and national legal frameworks relating to financial sanctions and counter-terrorism to fund reparations for victims of sexual violence in conflict.

The paper advocates that where a financial penalty is imposed on a corporation or individual for a violation of either:

  1. terrorist-financing regimes, and/or
  2. financial sanctions regimes imposed in relation to a conflict in which sexual violence was prevalent (and particularly in circumstances where rape was used as a weapon of war) or in relation to an action for its use of sexual violence, 

all, or a percentage of, the money recovered should form the financial basis for a collective reparations fund for victims of sexual violence in conflict. The proposal aims to make initiatives such as this sustainable for years to come.

The proposal was launched at a roundtable with representatives from State Parties, international organisations, private sector financial investigative agencies and NGOs.  The launch was supported by  Baroness Helic, co-creator and leading advocate of the global Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative, and Dr Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations.

Welcoming the proposal, Dr Agnès Callamard said: "For the thousands of Yezidi women, enslaved by ISIL members and their families, including so-called foreign fighters, subjected to the worse possible forms of sexual violence, there has been no victory, no peace, no justice, no reparations. Just largely official indifference to their plight and cold-hearted judicial decisions rejecting jurisdiction and denying them remedies. What the decision highlights is the need for an international process to devise an accountability framework and establish and implement accountability mechanisms for the victims of Daesh, including reparation packages. Justice for crimes against humanity and genocide cannot be held hostage by ill-fitted laws. The roots of the accountability deficits for the victims of Daesh are political first and foremost."

The report has also been raised at the International Office of Migration, the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court and at a High Level Panel on Accountability for Da’esh Crimes in Iraq and Syria at the UN sponsored by The Permanent Mission of Lichtenstein. Separately, it was welcomed by the Global Survivors Fund, launched in October 2019 by the Nobel Laureates Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.

Yasmin Waljee, International Pro Bono Director at Hogan Lovells, said: "The international community can improve the mechanisms by which those who have suffered sexual violence in conflict are able to access compensation. The purpose of financial sanctions regimes that focus on counter-terrorism and fine companies that have been found to have breached their obligations under applicable counter-terrorist financing laws is to ensure that international peace and security is maintained. As a result, creating a fund that compensates victims from such fines and penalties is in keeping with that purpose."

Hogan Lovells is also acting pro bono for Lotus Flower, a UK charity led by genocide survivor Taban Shoresh, and six Yazidi survivors who were victims of sexual violence and enslaved by identified foreign fighters.

The full team working on the policy proposal includes Aline Doussin (partner), Yasmin Waljee (International Pro Bono Director), Megan Smith (associate),  Mounir Haddad (associate), and Haylea Campbell (pro bono paralegal).

To access the full report, please click here



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