Global Justice Center Blog

Ukrainian Victims of Wartime Rape May Be Forced To Give Birth—All Thanks to This U.S. Policy

Excerpt of Ms. Magazine Op-Ed authored by GJC Legal Director, Dr. Christine Ryan.

Seeking protection from Russian bombing and shelling amidst a siege of their city, thousands of civilians in Bucha bunkered down in subways and basements. But for some, the reprieve from artillery was not enough. For women and girls, there was no shelter from the sexual violence inflicted by Russian soldiers.

Rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy are among the war crimes reportedly suffered by women and girls in Bucha and in wider Ukraine. Yet, the cruelty endured by these victims does not end there. Thanks to U.S. policy, abortion may be unavailable to these women and girls.

Because the Ukrainian health system is drastically strained, international humanitarian aid is playing an outsized role in delivering healthcare throughout the country. But all humanitarian aid provided by the U.S.—the largest single-country donor of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine—is subject to the Helms Amendment, which limits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds for abortion. In this way, rather than alleviating their suffering, U.S. aid could be the reason that victims of wartime rape are denied abortions and forced to give birth.

Read the Article

The ICC at 20: Critical Perspectives On Human Rights Conference

Since its establishment at the turn of the century, a central preoccupation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been to catalyze—through the principle of complementarity—the pursuit of criminal accountability at the domestic level. This roundtable discussion will explore what impact the ICC, now operational for twenty years, has had in certain countries, how its interventions have evolved over time, and what challenges it has faced. Participants will also consider broader questions about the future of accountability for atrocity crimes in both international law and politics. Where does international criminal justice today stand as a field and a practice? How should we be thinking about the future of the field? And what role should the ICC play—or not play—in the next twenty years?


  • Christian De Vos, Director of Research and Investigations, Physicians for Human Rights
  • Angela Mudukuti, Senior Legal Adviser, Global Justice Center
  • Sharon Nakandha, Program Officer, Africa Regional Office, Open Society Foundations
  • Ruti Teitel, Ernst C. Stiefel Professor of Comparative Law, New York Law School
  • Danielle A. Zach (Moderator), The City College of New York

2021-2026 Strategic Framework: Gender Shapes Our Response to Violence

Our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, launched in November of 2021, outlines three central goals for the organization. One of these centers on our work to ensure that the global fight against sexual and gender-based violence targets the root causes of violence, such as structural gender inequality.

To learn more about our vision for a gender-equal future that protects abortion and other rights, check out our Strategic Plan.

Frontiers of Prevention

This panel takes post-atrocity resilience not as an individual feature but as the consequence of various social, economic, and political structures on individuals. It aims to garner panelists' views on identifying the mechanisms which either support or harm the resilience of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.


2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law

The queer experience of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes is not new. From the Holocaust to the anti-gay purges in Chechnya, LGBTQI communities have been deliberately targeted by widespread, systematic campaigns that can be described as atrocity crimes. The (re)imposition or intensification of heteronormative, patriarchal power structures through legislation and culture come before regimes of widespread human rights violations. At the same time, prevailing heteronormative approaches to reducing conflict and instability, and in preventing atrocity crimes – even when LGBTQI communities are themselves at risk – continues to leave LBGTQI people excluded from human rights and violence prevention architecture. This roundtable will discuss the challenges facing the efforts to prevent mass atrocities while including communities often at the greatest risk, including whether the tools, approaches, and policies are fit for purpose. Speakers will address the provisional findings of Protection Approaches’ new paper ‘Queering Atrocity Prevention’ and ask questions of what it means to address the existing blind spots in the field and identify ways to recognize the importance of centering the individual in atrocity prevention, mitigation, and recovery.


  • Kate Ferguson, Protection Approaches (Panelist)
  • Jean Freedburg, Human Rights Campaign (Panelist)
  • Detmer Kremer, Protection Approaches (Panelist)
  • Neela Ghoshal, OutRight Action International (Panelist)
  • Savita Pawnday, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (Panelist)
  • Christine Ryan, Global Justice Center (Panelist)