Within the narratives of neoliberalism and international law women are often represented as victims. It is in times of conflict that women’s roles are generally limited and ignored. Law is guilty of creating more protection for women that effectively perpetuates their status as victims. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are two examples where neoliberalism is reaffirmed though international law. Feminists and advocates, who bolster law’s use, are often unintentionally supporting the link between neoliberalism, and international law and human rights. This link at its core uses women to support its aims, as neoliberalism needs a victim to aid in its reproduction. Due to this unfortunate situation women are rarely seen as perpetrators of crimes. Changing the predominate narrative surrounding women in times of conflict can only be seen to aid women, yet very few are comfortable with seeing women as violators. The United States female soldier’s actions in Abu Ghraib were one such situation where the international community unanimously chose to treat women, who displayed the power of agency, as an aberration. Looking at Abu Ghraib as something positive for women, and rethinking the discourse that surrounded the ICTY and ICTR gives women the opportunity to be seen as something other than the consummate victim. Analyzing the influence of neoliberalism, and the use of law in reproducing incorrect representations of women further proves that in order for women to be seen as encompassing all forms of human expression one must first become resigned to the fact that women are very capable of committing violent crimes.
MA in International Human Rights Law
Date of Award
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Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Intertiol Tribul for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of Intertiol Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Intertiol Crimil Tribul for Rwanda.
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(2013).The importance of women as villains and violators: scenes from the ICTY, the ICTR, and Abu Ghraib [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Labenski, Sheri Ann. The importance of women as villains and violators: scenes from the ICTY, the ICTR, and Abu Ghraib. 2013. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.