Foreign minister Hanke Bruins Slot to open conference on conflict-related sexual violence

Foreign minister Hanke Bruins Slot to open conference on conflict-related sexual violence

From Tuesday 26 March to Thursday 28 March 2024, the Netherlands and the UN are hosting the International Conference of Prosecutors on Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The conference will be opened by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot, together with Pramila Patten, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Public prosecutors from more than 50 countries around the world will attend. This is the first time that such a large number of countries will convene at high level to improve and strengthen investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence.

Enlarge image

Image: ©Fred Libochant / Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Protection from conflict-related sexual violence is one of the Netherlands’ main priorities in its efforts to ensure accountability for international crimes and human rights violations, and its special focus on this issue is also in line with its feminist foreign policy.

‘Sexual violence is a horrific violation of international humanitarian law that occurs all too often in conflicts and wars. We also see that in the conflicts that are currently dominating the news,’ said Ms Bruins Slot. ‘The consequences for the victims are severe; not just the physical scars, but the psychological and social effects too. It’s appalling that this type of violence in particular almost always goes unpunished. Because many countries’ judicial systems fall short in this area, because nothing is done when victims speak out, or because victims don’t report the crime because they are ashamed, or afraid of being stigmatised. The conference provides a unique platform for exchanging good practices. Victims of sexual violence deserve justice. And what’s more, prosecution has a deterrent effect.’

The conference will focus on practical and technical aspects. Participants will share experiences with regard to investigation and prosecution and the conference will form the starting point for a ‘community of practice’ that will further expand cooperation in this area.

Originally published at

author avatar
EU editor