Centre news

The importance of intersectional analysis in presuming accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes

In an interview with JusticeInfo, Alexandra Lily Kather, visiting fellow at the Centre for Fundamental Rights, advocates for an intersectional analysis from the outset of universal jurisdiction investigations and prosecutions.

Kather, an expert on sexual and gender-based violence, offers her perspective in the context of two landmark trials in Germany, which have been dealing with crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Syria and Iraq, and which have so far not focused on sexual and gender-based violence. In both cases: the so called Al-Khatib trial in Koblenz and the judicial process against Taha Al-J., the first former Islamic State-fighter to be accused of genocide against the Yazidis in northern Iraq, in Frankfurt, civil party lawyers are trying to change this. 

“Torture against men is the prevalent crime in the Syrian detention facilities. However, that does not mean other crimes and crimes against other persons have not been committed,” explains Kather. “There is a tendency to focus on one group and not have an intersectional gender-sensitive lens to see against whom and for what reason crimes were committed and what the discriminatory intent behind them was,” she says.

Kather sees a further need for action: “We have to create the conditions, in which survivors of very sensitive crimes feel supported enough to come forward,” she argues, listing legal, medical, psychosocial and community support that the German state should, according to her, put in place. “It does not make sense to have a universal jurisdiction framework in place, if the appropriate protective measures and support structures are missing.”

Read the full interview here.