Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Professor Jennifer Taw

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© 2023 Anya Syed


Rape can be used to annihilate, control, and humiliate populations. Mass rape can have genocidal intent. Yet, thus far, the legal definition of genocide has failed to codify rape. These severe limitations in the definition of genocide create legal impunity and impede the rehabilitation of rape survivors. This failure also results in legal challenges, including the lack of basis to distinguish between rape during war and genocide. This paper seeks to provide readers with sufficient background to understand the legal challenges currently preventing the prosecution of rape as genocide. After presenting this information, the paper details past courts that have successfully been able to prosecute rape as genocide, as well as examples of historical failures to do so. Finally, using the background material and past precedents from cases, this paper will strive to legally distinguish between events that carry the impact of genocidal rape and those that can be prosecuted as such.