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Legal Framework for Evidence in Rape

This legal framework was developed after a preliminary review of rape cases brought before international courts and tribunals, as well as, courts in South-Asia. The selection of issues was based on what typically arise in court cases on rape and sexual assault and their impact on women as complainants and defendants. In this guide, we reiterate arguments that have been successfully used by human rights lawyers on controversial legal questions. We have made this framework a practical tool of reference by offering suggestions for case strategy in like cases.

This framework refers mainly to the jurisprudence developed by international and human rights courts and committees; the CEDAW Committee, the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to mention a few. They are instructive on gender-analysis and the use of evidence in rape cases. The cases we have selected are based on their precedence and frequent citation by international bodies like the CEDAW Committee.

Finally, references have been made to Pakistani law due to their relevance and proximity to the cases that appear in Muslim-majority jurisdictions. Some English legal standards were used due to the abundance of material on the law of evidence in the English language. They were also included due to their rigorous methods of standard-setting.

Admittedly, these standards in the absence of law, are not binding upon any court. However, it is envisaged that through the strategic use of these ‘standards,’ gender stereotypes and narratives in Court can be exposed and challenged logically and persuasively. Though meant for lawyers, the arguments can also be developed further for lobbying, law reform, and activities.

 Read the framework here: Legal Framework for Evidence in Rape

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