UN Team of Experts on Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict2021-08-02T18:20:55-04:00

About the UN Team of Experts

The United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict (the “Team”) was created by Security Council resolution 1888 (2009) to assist national authorities in strengthening the rule of law, with the aim of ensuring criminal accountability for perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence. This resolution recognizes that conflict-related sexual violence is a threat to international peace and security, and that Member States affected by conflict need assistance to address impunity in order to prevent and deter future violations.
The Team is the only dedicated Security Council mandated mechanism to provide this type of support on a global basis.

The Team is based at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and with the consent and cooperation of host governments deploys regularly to some of the world’s most challenging contexts. The Team has a unique “co-lead” structure that includes members from several United Nations entities to enable the United Nations to deliver as one in assisting Member States to address conflict-related sexual violence.

The Team is led by a Team Leader who reports to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC), and currently comprises experts from the Department of Peace Operations (DPO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Office of the SRSG-SVC, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), each of whom report to both the Team Leader and their respective entities.
In line with its mandate, the Team of Experts focuses its efforts primarily on countries contained in the annual report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence.

Theory of Change

The Team’s theory of change is based on the premise that strong political will; improved technical and operational capacity of national rule of law institutions and actors; and enhanced cooperation, coordination, coherence and knowledge among actors will enable effective, victim sensitive criminal proceedings for conflict-related sexual violence in line with international standards, resulting in increased accountability for such crimes and ultimately contribute to long-term peace, security and development.

Resources

The Security Council mandates in resolution 1888 (2009) that the Team of Experts make use of existing human resources within the UN system as well as voluntary contributions. Since it became operational in 2011, the Team has been funded exclusively through voluntary contributions. To sustain its work, adequate human and financial resources are essential. The Team welcomes contributions to its five-year joint programme from Member States, private philanthropic foundations, and individuals.

The UN Team of Experts’ Approach

The Team works with the consent and cooperation of host governments, with the aim of fostering national ownership and responsibility for addressing conflict-related sexual violence. The Team takes a survivor-centric approach, which recognizes that victims of conflict-related sexual violence include women and girls as well as men and boys, and that victims are often subject to stigmatization by their families and communities. The Team’s areas of work include: (i) criminal investigations and prosecutions; (ii) military justice; (iii) legislative reform; (iv) protection of victims and witnesses; (v) reparations for survivors; and (vi) security sector oversight.

The Team works closely with a variety of partners to ensure complementarity and sustainability. At country level, it works with United Nations peace operations and country teams as well as civil society organizations and academia. At regional level, the Team works with organizations including the African Union, the European Genocide Network, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the League of Arab States. At the global level, the Team works within the United Nations Global Focal Point Arrangement for Police, Justice and Corrections in Post-Conflict and Other Crisis Situations (GFP) and with international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Examples of the UN Team of Experts’ Work

  • In the Central African Republic, the Team has been working with MINUSCA and UNDP to operationalize a rapid response unit within the police and gendarmerie to investigate sexual and gender-based violence (known as the UMIRR). The Team is ensuring that the UMIRR receives capacity building on investigative techniques and the use of forensic evidence, and also benefits from experience sharing with counterparts from other countries. The Team has also worked closely with GFP partners to establish the Special Criminal Court of CAR (SCC) and develop the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence and Witness and Victims Protection Strategy.
  • In Colombia, the Team worked with the Office of the SRSG-SVC and UN Women to advocate actively for the inclusion of sexual violence in conflict as a key aspect of the peace and ceasefire agreements between the Government and the FARC-EP (2016) and the ELN (2017). The Team also provided technical advice on Law 1719 on Access to Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence in Colombia (2014).
  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Team worked with the Congolese military justice authorities to formulate a case prioritization strategy for serious international crimes, including sexual crimes. This exercise was conducted jointly with MONUSCO, the United Nations country team and civil society organizations. The Team has also provided support to mobile court sessions to facilitate access to justice for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in their local communities. It has also organized training for the Congolese Special Police on Women and Children (PSEPF) on investigating conflict-related sexual violence.
  • In Guinea (Conakry), in collaboration with the Government and OHCHR, the Team provided technical assistance to the national panel of judges investigating the events surrounding the Conakry stadium in September 2009. This has led to the indictment of seventeen high-ranking military officials and a former head of state, including for sexual crimes. The Team is now part of the steering committee which was established by the Government to plan for the trials of these individuals.
  • In Iraq, the Team carried out a technical assessment on the accountability landscape for sexual violence in conflict, focusing on crimes committed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) since 2015. It has recently launched a new project to assist Iraqi authorities in investigating and prosecuting sexual violence crimes committed by ISIL.
  • In South Sudan, the Team continues to work with UNMISS and the United Nations country team to assist the armed forces and the police to develop and implement action plans on preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict. The Team will also continue to support efforts to hold perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence accountable for their crimes.

UN Team of Experts Annual Report 2020

UN Team of Experts Update

Download 12/2020 TOE Update
View UN Team of Experts Reports

UN Team of Experts’ & the Journal of International Criminal Justice special issue

For more information, please contact: TOE-ROL-SVC@un.org
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