Mass Atrocity Crimes

Abortion Access in Conflict

The Global Justice Center is demanding justice for sexual and gender-based violence in mass atrocity crimes.

The Issue

Mass atrocity crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing) have always been carried out along gendered lines, punctuated by cultural beliefs and prejudices about what it is to be a man or woman in a particular society. However, accountability efforts for these crimes have historically prioritized only the experiences of men and boys. Women and girls are targeted for distinct abuse based on their gender, and their experiences must not be ignored.

Legal Analysis

This program aims to ensure that individuals and states are held accountable for the commission of sexual and gender-based crimes as part of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. For too long, international bodies, justice mechanisms, and domestic legal frameworks have overlooked the gendered ways that mass atrocity crimes are committed and undermined a gendered response to these crimes. Despite a few notable exceptions, these failures are a blight on international justice and accountability frameworks and have led to major gaps in efforts to prevent, prosecute and provide reparations for mass atrocity crimes.


Our legal analysis of gender and international mass atrocity crimes has had a profound impact on the way these crimes are addressed by the legal, advocacy, and accountability communities. Our work brings a much needed gender perspective to well-settled and highly regarded international laws to address, and propose solutions for, responses to gender-based violence as a war crime, crime against humanity, or as an element of genocide or ethnic cleansing. As this project has grown and evolved, we have leveraged our long-term engagement in Burma to seek criminal accountability for gender-based crimes, including genocide, committed by the Burmese military against Burma’s ethnic minorities, including the Rohingya, Shan, and Kachin populations.

Key Resources

Recent Publications - Mass Atrocity Crimes