Beliefnet
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Feb. 22 (AP) - In the rape convictions of three Bosnian Serb fighters, U.N. judges Thursday established sexual enslavement as a new crime against humanity.

Although rape has been prosecuted in earlier cases at U.N. atrocity tribunals, there has never been a conviction for the offense of holding victims in detention for the explicit purpose of sexual abuse.

The conviction may still be challenged on appeal. However, judges and jurists around the world will be studying the judgment closely for a definition of the offense.

In the ruling, the three-judge panel led by Florence Mumba of Zambia identified what it said were ``elements of particular relevance for the crime of enslavement'' relating to sexual assault.

The elements include:

  • Detention in poor living conditions and lack of food.
  • The victims having ``to do everything they were ordered to do, including the cooking and household chores.''
  • Exclusive control, with victims at the constant disposal of the rapists.
  • Offering the victims to others for sexual abuse in exchange for payment.
  • Mistreatment, such as beating and slapping.
  • Effective denial of the victims' control over their own lives.
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