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Creighton Law Review


Within this Article I seek to develop a feminist legal theory of justice, by questioning the ability of traditional legal strategies to facilitate justice and identifying underlying principles that contribute to a more inclusive and holistic form of justice. Secondly, I apply this theory to the situation of women victims of sexual violence in post-genocide Rwanda, in an effort to explore how these principles can contribute to a realization of justice that empowers women.

In Part II of this Article, I seek to develop a set of principles underlying a feminist reconceptualization of justice. This endeavour is a three-step process: First, I seek to provide an historical context and perspective on the ideological and organizational tenets of feminist legal theory as such can contribute to the (re)construction of an inclusive, diverse, vital form of justice. Secondly, I hold current legal operatives, particularly criminal procedure and rules of evidence, to the light of scrutiny for masculine universals and feminine specificities, as those laws are embodied as such in substance and form. Thirdly, using a variety of branches of feminist theory, I discuss alternative ways of thinking about legal regimes in the interest of seeking a more feminist, inclusive, diversified, and vital conceptualization of justice. I conclude this Part with the identification of five principles that serve as the foundation for a feminist theory of justice.

In Part III of this Article, I apply these principles to the situation of women victims of sexual violence committed during the genocide in Rwanda. The analysis begins with a discussion of what is, in fact, the situation of women victims of sexual violence in Rwanda. Such discussion includes a brief history of genocidal events, particularly those related to the commission of crimes of systematic sexual violence, and an abbreviated discussion of the development of crimes of sexual violence in international law. In the third section of Part III, I apply the five foundational principles to specific legal structures and operatives in post-conflict Rwanda. This application seeks to engage a critical analysis of how these structures and operatives do or do not contribute to justice for women victims of sexual violence.

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