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War, Sex and Justice: Barriers to Gender Justice in Post-Conflict Liberia

Bamidele, Seun

Jaishankar, K

The literature on the sexual violence (SV) in many arms-ravaged countries offers a gruesome and horrific narrative of how the feminine sex has become a victim of such conflict. The literature relates how women were both victims and weapons of war in both physical and psychological ways. However, the literature contains very little relating to the issues of sexual justice for victims as well as perpetrators. In Liberia, years of conflict and abuses against women have been given great attention, but little has been said about regimes of reparation, rehabilitation, and compensation for the victims of war. While there were attempts to ensure that victims of war be systematically compensated and rehabilitated as in Rwanda, the Liberian experience left much to be desired in this respect. The reason for this deserves investigation. Although there are traditional and contemporary barriers barring access to sexual justice in many developing countries, Liberia included, efforts to achieve sexual assault justice in post-conflict societies remain very sensitive for the reason that they may inadvertently lead to stigmatization. The social deficit resulting from this failure has yet to be analyzed in many states. Similarly, a systemically dysfunctional judicial process cannot serve as an agency of remedy. This system is usually expensive to service and maintain. This is coupled with a loss of faith in government and its institutions by the victims. As a combination of weak judicial institutions and social and economic impediments limits the prospects of a sexual justice, this study assesses sexual justice in post-conflict Bahn and Nimba County in Liberia. It examines the broader implications, as it raises questions about the relevance of the regime of justice on the Bahn and Nimba County victims and the perpetrator and draw lessons from this experience.      

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