TRIAL needs you to move justice forward!

05.12.2016 ( Last modified: 06.12.2016 )

Did you know that over 20 women are raped every day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)? This everyday tragedy is experienced by many populations in conflict areas. Sexual violence is a weapon of war aiming at destroying individuals and the very foundations of whole communities. The victims’ physical wounds are matched only by the invisible ones they will suffer all their life.

Fearing retaliation and stigmatization, many chose to stay silent, so their aggressors remain unpunished. “The feeling of impunity has trivialized sexual violence. I hear stories of teachers raping their pupils, of judges sexually aggressing plaintiffs” says Daniele Perissi, Head of TRIAL International’s DRC program. “Those are the signs of a society that has lost its moral compass. This is what we should be reconstructing, starting with real sanctions.”

Such sufferings are unacceptable, which is why TRIAL International’s team is committed to helping victims to obtain justice and fighting the impunity of those responsible for these crimes. Since 2009, we have defended over 160 sexual violence survivors through our programs in the DRC, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nepal. Our staff has also trained over 100 lawyers and human rights defenders to documentation techniques and international law mechanisms.

As 2016 is coming to a close, TRIAL is particularly proud of two victories it has claimed in the last few months. In DRC, a military tribunal in Bukavu has condemned a soldier to 15 years’ imprisonment for the rape of Sylvie and Yvette[1] in 2013. With the support of TRIAL International, the two women have travelled for 3 days from their remote village to testify against their aggressor.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, where at least 20’000 women have been raped during the conflict, TRIAL International has recently helped secure the first monetary compensations ever granted by a local jurisdiction to a victim. This decision follows the first ever successful compensation claim before national jurisdiction in 2015, which was also the result of our work in the country. It gives us great pride that these precedents will open the way to countless victims seeking justice.

The decision to reinforce our work on sexual violence in the last 5 years has come in response to an undeniable need. It is urgent that we fight more systematically and more efficiently against sexual crimes, and adapt our interventions to new contexts.

Victims need solid relays to help them make their voice heard. These relays now exist and you are part of that link! Together, we can provide legal support to victims and advocate more efficiently in their favor. We need you to help justice move forward.

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[1] Real names withheld

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