Transformative reparations to combat sexual violence against women in post-conflict settings

Africa's case against the ICC photo

Sexual violence in post-conflict settings is disproportionately experienced by women. Identifying innovative approaches to address this critical global problem is an urgent task. International justice advocates have identified reparations as a tool to ‘transform’ the conditions underlying the violence and to prevent its recurrence.

As the International Criminal Court and other tribunals begin to design and implement reparation frameworks and the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (London, June 2014) focused world attention on this crucial task, it is a crucial time to define the essential elements for this ‘transformation.’ Of equal importance is determining the limits and potential of these institutions to use reparations to reduce sexual violence against women.

Led by Prof Louise Chappell, Prof Andrea Durbach and Assoc Prof Sarah Williams, this ARC Discovery Project (DP140102274) will investigate the political, economic, social and cultural conditions that underlie and enable sexual violence during and post-conflict with a view to developing a framework of ‘transformative'  reparations for consideration by criminal justice institutions. The project will focus primarily on the work of the ICC and its reparations mandate and draw on research undertaken by the project team in four post-conflict settings, namely South Africa (TRC), Rwanda (ICTR), Bosnia (ICTY) and Cambodia (ECCC). 

Louise Chappell photo

On 13 August 2015, Louise Chappell and Jan Breckenridge (Co-Director, GVRN) met with Sr Angelique Namaika, UNHCR Human Rights Laureate, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sr Angelique's visited UNSW to speak about her work at the Maison de la Femme in remote DRC, where she supports women victims of conflict related violence to build new lives through economic programs and healthcare initiatives. Australia for UNHCR is a major donor to Maison de la Femme and sponsoring Sr Angelique's visit to Australia.  


Project team

This cross-faculty project is led by three investigators:

This project is being support by:

  • Lucy Geddes, Research Assistant, Faculty of Law
  • Dr. Rosemary Grey, Research Assistant, Faculty of Law
  • Natalie Hodgson, Research Assistant, Faculty of Law
  • Emma Palmer, PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, Faculty of Law
  • Emily Waller, PhD Candidate and Research Associate, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences




Durbach, A. (2016). ‘Toward reparative transformation: revisiting the impact of violence against women in a post-TRC South Africa’ (2016) 10 (3) International Journal of Transitional Justice, 10(3).

Durbach, A. (2016). ‘An essential intervention: Civil society responses to redressing and preventing violence against women in post-apartheid South Africa, Acta Juridica.  

Williams, S. and Palmer, E. (2016). Transformative reparations for women and girls at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. International Journal of Transitional Justice. Available Online.

Williams, S. (forthcoming 2016). The UN Group of Experts (1998-1999) and International Crimes in Cambodia, in International Commissions: The Role of Commissions of Inquiry in the Investigation of International Crimes, Jens Meierhenrich (ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chappell, L. (2015). The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court: Legacies and Legitimacy. Oxford University Press.  

Grey, R. (2015). Prosecuting sexual and gender violence crimes in the International Criminal Court Historical legacies and new opportunities, Doctoral Thesis, UNSW Australia. 

Durbach, A. (2015). “Of trials, reparation and transformation in post-apartheid South Africa: the making ofA Common Purpose’,” New York Law School Law Review, 60(2): 409-431.

Durbach, A. (2015). 'Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies – International Agendas and African Contexts', Doris Buss, Joanne Lebert, Blair Rutherford, Donna Sharkey and Obijiofor Aginam (eds), (New York: Routledge, 2014), 290 pages, Australian Journal of Human Rights, 21(1). 

Williams, S. & Palmer, E. (2015). The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Developing the law on sexual violence?  International Criminal Law Review, 15(3): 452-484.  

Hyde, M., Palmer, E. & Williams, S. (2015). Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Reflections, Recommendations and Next Steps. Workshop Report, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 28 November 2014.

Grey, R. (2015). Protecting child soldiers from sexual violence by members of the same military force: A re-conceptualisation of international humanitarian law? TMC Asser Institute, International Crimes Database series.

Williams, S. (2014). Hybrid International Criminal Tribunals in Oxford Bibliographies in International Law. Tony Carty (ed). New York: Oxford University Press.  

Durbach, A. & Chappell, L. (2014). ‘Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity’: Victims of Gender Violence and the Promise of Reparations. International Feminists Journal of Politics, 16(4): 543-562. 

Grey, R. (2014). Sexual violence against child soldiers: the limits and potential of international criminal law. International Feminist Journal of Politics: Special Issue (The International Criminal Court: a Site of Gender Justice), 16(4): 601-621.

Grey, R. (2014). Conflicting interpretations of sexual violence at the International Criminal Court: Recent cases. Australian Feminist Studies, 29(81): 273-288.

Chappell, L. (2014). ‘Newness’, ‘Oldness’ and Gender Justice Outcomes: a View from the International Criminal Court. Politics & Gender 10:4.

Waller, E. Palmer, E. & Chappell, L. (2014).  Strengthening gender justice in the Asia-Pacific through the Rome Statute. Australian Journal of International Affairs. 68:3, 356-373.

Chappell, L. (2014). Conflicting institutions and the search for gender justice at the International Criminal Court. Political Research Quarterly. March 2014 67: 183-196.

Chappell, L., Grey, R. and Waller, E. (2013). The gender justice shadow of complementarity: lessons from the international criminal court’s preliminary examinations in Guinea and Colombia. International Journal of Transitional Justice. 7: 455-475.

Williams, S. (2013). The Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese Courts: an African solution to an African problem? Journal of International Criminal Justice. 11:5, 1139-1160.

Williams, S. and Byrnes, A. (2013). 'Justice for All? Ten Years of the International Criminal Court in the Asia-Pacific Region’: Foreword. Journal of International Criminal Justice. 11, 1023-1027.

Williams, S. (2012). Hybrid and Internationalized criminal courts and tribunals: Selected Jurisdictional Issues. Oxford: Hart Publishing.



Blog posts

Sellers, P. (2016). ‘Beyond a Recitation of Sexual Violence Provisions: A Mature Social Science Evaluation of the ICC: Book Discussion.’ EJIL Talk!

Oosterveld, V. (2016). ‘Gender Justice Legacies at the ICC: Book Discussion.’ EJIL: Talk!

Drumbl, M. (2016). ‘Gender Justice and International Criminal Law: Peeking and Peering Beyond Stereotypes: Book Discussion.’ EJIL: Talk!

Chappell, L. (2016). ‘Author’s Response: The Politics of Gender Justice at the ICC: Legacies and Legitimacy.’ EJIL: Talk!

Palmer, E. and Williams, S. (2015). ‘Will the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Successfully Prosecute Sexual Violence?Right Now

Grey, R. (2014). 'The Ntaganda Confirmation of Charges Decision: A Victory for Gender Justice?' Beyond the Hague Blog.

Grey, R. (2014). ‘Hate Crimes Against Humanity? Persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation under the Rome Statute.’ Beyond the Hague Blog.

Chappell, L. and R. Grey. (2014). ‘Forging New Paths for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court?’ Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective.

Waller, E., Grey, R., & Chappell, L. (2013). The gender justice shadow of complementarity: Lessons from the International Criminal Court's preliminary examinations in Guinea and Colombia. IntLawGrrls Blog.

Grey, R. (2013). ‘Beyond Rape: The evolving concept of ‘sexual violence’ under international criminal law.’ Regarding Rights: Blog of the Centre for International Governance and Justice, ANU.

Chappell, L (2013). Justice for Women depends on the International Criminal Court. The Conversation (UK).

Chappell, L. & Grey, R. (2012, November 26). Simone Gbagbo & the International Criminal Court: The unsettling spectre of the female war criminal. IntLawGrrls Blog.

Chappell, L. & Durbach, A. (2012, February 14). ICC deserves help in seeking justice for all. The Age.


Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact:


Prof. Louise Chappell

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

UNSW Australia