U.N. Case Law Database on Sexual Assault [UN]


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850. The Appeals Chamber notes that the definition and elements of sexual assault have been discussed, in various degrees of detail, by several trial chambers.[1] Trial chambers have held that sexual assault is broader than rape and encompasses “all serious abuses of a sexual nature inflicted upon the physical and moral integrity of a person by means of coercion, threat of force or intimidation in a way that is humiliating and degrading for the victim’s dignity”.[2] The Appeals Chamber notes that the Milutinović et al. Trial Chamber, after a thorough analysis, identified the elements of sexual assault as follows:

(a) The physical perpetrator commits an act of a sexual nature on another; this includes requiring that other person to perform such an act.
(b) That act infringes the victim’s physical integrity or amounts to an outrage to the victim’s personal dignity.
(c) The victim does not consent to the act.
(d) The physical perpetrator intentionally commits the act.
(e) The physical perpetrator is aware that the act occurred without the consent of the victim.[3]

851. This definition was adopted by the Trial Chamber in the present case.[4] While the Appeals Chamber is satisfied that this definition correctly reflects the elements of sexual assault (other than rape), it finds that some further elaboration is useful.

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