My name is Natasha Williams, and I am a 1L in my first semester as a student staff member with the Center for Global Justice. This semester I am helping conduct research for the International Justice Mission.
Currently, we are drafting a legal memo to help victims of sexual assault by police and military officials that occurred following an election (the details of the project are confidential). During a large election in a certain nation, many local police officers, as well as nearby militia and national park officers, were assigned to densely populated cities with the goal of quelling protests and keeping the community safe. Unfortunately, some officers physically and sexually assaulted men, women, and even children. It even appears that many victims were targeted because of political and ethnic lines. Although a few victims have reported their abuses to police, they are often turned away and even laughed at. Most victims, however, are not willing to report their crimes for two main reasons: (1) the police are the ones committing the crimes, so victims are fearful, and (2) there can be tragic social consequences for victims following reporting their abuse, including being shunned, the woman’s husband leaving, and serious repercussions in school when children do not receive proper mental treatment after his or her traumatic attack.
The goal of the project I am assigned to is to work on bringing criminal sanctions to the leaders of these police departments and military organizations who actually took part in the attacks, ordered them, or failed to take action when these reports are brought to their attention.
So far this semester I have gathered information about various attacks that took place and victim accounts of what happened. Now, I am working on researching how International and domestic courts have dealt with the mens rea, or the intent, element of command responsibility.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.