Investigating Sexual and Gender-based Violence

Since 2009, Justice Rapid Response and UN Women have partnered to provide the international community with expertise to investigate and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The goal of the partnership is to end impunity for these crimes, ultimately preventing their re-occurrence. The training and deployment of SGBV experts through the JRR-UN Women partnership has catalyzed the ability of international and national mechanisms to secure accountability for these crimes.

In 2017, we released the short documentary Evidence of Hope, which features two sexual violence investigators on the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster who were deployed to the UN’s investigations in Syria and Iraq, and four survivor/witnesses they met during their work. Filmed in Germany, Turkey and the United States, the film goes behind the scenes into how investigators approach the challenge of finding victims of SGBV, collecting evidence, and building a case, while always prioritizing the well-being of survivors.



The film is also part of a digital interactive presentation Justice Now: Ending impunity for sexual and gender-based violence as international crimes produced in partnership with UN Women, and nominated for a prestigious Webby Award.


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“UN Women is happy to partner with Justice Rapid Response, because together, we make a formidable team.”
– UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka


Our Work to End Impunity for SGBV

In 2017, JRR deployed a total of 25 experts to 17 SGBV missions to enhance accountability for SGBV as international crimes. These included the provision of gender advisers, interpreters and investigators who shed light on SGBV violations in countries such as Burundi, Myanmar, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iraq, Kosovo, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In 2017, the JRR-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster continued to be recognized as a critical tool to address SGBV in conflict. For example, the 2017 UN Secretary-General’s Report on Women, Peace and Security (S/2017/861) mentions the SGBV roster and the deployment of experts to investigations and accountability processes as a notable contribution towards ending impunity for SGBV as an international crime. As well, on 15 May 2017, during the UN Security Council Annual Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the work of JRR was recognized as a concrete tool to end impunity for SGBV crimes by 12 Member States.

In December, JRR’s contribution to securing justice for SGBV was recognized by Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice as part of their Legacy Wall Initiative.