Syria has reached the end of its fifth year of continuous conflict. A political end to the conflict remains elusive. The death toll is over 250,000 with millions more wounded from sustained barrel bombings, the use of chemical weapons, and traditional warfare. Yet, there are an indeterminate number of silent victims to an equally prominent form of violence: rape and its consequent physical and mental torment. Rape and sexual violence are a means to terrorize and it is a weapon of war dating back to ancient times. Rape, however, received little mention in international law until the 20th century. Currently, rape is a violation of several international statutes and its use imposes criminal liability on its perpetrators. While some accounts of rape in Syria exist, the majority go unreported. Underreporting is a significant barrier to finding those responsible and holding them accountable. Moreover, underreporting is often furthered by social, religious, and cultural stigmas of rape, making it particularly difficult for victims in Syria to tell their stories. Nonetheless, this snapshot analysis documents and analyzes 142 alleged incidents of rape. It describes the perpetrators, victims, and types of rapes occurring in the conflict, and applies relevant laws to highlight potential sources of liability. Some of the key findings include: · The 142 reported incidents affected at least 483 Syrian women and girls across the country.
· The Syrian Regime perpetrated 62% of the total incidents.
· Shabiha, the Regime’s affiliate, was responsible for the second most rapes: 23%.
· Rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army were one of the least responsible perpetrators at 2%.
· The majority of rapes, 34%, occurred while the victim was detained or imprisoned.
· Rapes during home raids and rapes resulting from abductions were also commonly reported.
Syrian Accountability Project
Author Peter: Levrant
Callie Moncus Marlana Shaw-Brown Professor David Crane Professor Lynn Levey