chapter  10
The Representation of Rape by the Special Court for Sierra Leone
ByV ALERIE OOSTERVELD
Pages 13

The United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has explored the prevalence of rape 1 within Sierra Leone’s decade-long armed confl ict through four trials. These trials are known informally as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and Civil Defence Forces (CDF) cases, as well as the case of the former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor. 2 The pictures of confl ict-related rape painted by each case are different. In the AFRC judgments, the focus is on the rape of women and girls within AFRC-held territory. Somewhat in contrast, the RUF judgments examine the rape of women, girls, men, and boys and place this rape within a broader context: that of the war crime of committing acts of terrorism. Combining these approaches, the Taylor trial judgment-like that of the AFRC-focuses on rape of women and girls, albeit throughout territory held by the AFRC, the RUF, and affi liated fi ghting forces. And, like the RUF case, the Taylor judgment recognizes the crucial role played by rape in terrorizing civilians into submission to rebel forces. Again in contrast to the AFRC, RUF, and Taylor cases, the CDF case excludes discussion of rape, unfortunately erasing evidence of that crime in CDF-held territory to the detriment of victim-survivors. These varying approaches serve to both illuminate and hide the deeply ingrained role of sexual violence during Sierra Leone’s brutal war.