Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

This article suggests that programs designed to strengthen the rule of law in general are unlikely to be effective against the widespread problem of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I argue that while weak rule of law perpetuates sexual violence, only rule of law programs designed specifically with respect to the needs, risks, and cultural norms pertaining to Congolese women can help curb this problem. The article begins with a brief history of conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa to provide context for a discussion of the scope of sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the DR Congo. It then introduces the notion of "rule of law" before evaluating the ways in which weak rule of law in the eastern DR Congo contributes to the problem of sexual violence. Finally, the article makes four arguments to support the central claim that strengthening the rule of law will be effective against sexual violence only if specifically tailored in the ways noted above.

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