Realizing the Right to Reparations for Girl Soldiers: A Child-Sensitive and Gendered Approach

Aurora E. Bewicke

The 2012 guilty verdict issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Thomas Lubanga Dyilo case has brought significant attention to the issue of child soldiering. Yet, despite global attempts to criminalize child soldier recruitment, armed groups’ willingness to capitalize on children’s inherent vulnerabilities and the proliferation of small arms have resulted in the continued use of large numbers of both boys and girls in armed conflict today. These youths suffer physical injury and psychological trauma. After the fighting  has finished, they face further challenges reintegrating into civilian life. Girl soldiers in particular frequently experience reproductive health problems and gender-specific stigmatization. Yet, until recently, post-conflict justice mechanisms designed to address suffering and help populations transition have systematically failed to address the needs of both women and children, in particular the needs of girl soldiers. Even among programs initiated to reintegrate and rehabilitate child soldiers, very few have focused on girls, and some have even excluded them from the process. This Article will explore one of the main pillars of transitional justice, namely reparations, within this context. Specifically, it will address how to more effectively realize the right to reparations for girl soldiers. December 2011 witnessed the world’s first reparations judgment on the basis of unlawful child soldier recruitment, according to which Colombian paramilitary leader Fredy Rendón Herrera was sentenced and ordered to pay compensation for the illegal recruitment of minors, including girls. Following the March 2012 verdict in the Lubanga case—unless the conviction is overturned on appeal—we will now have the privilege to witness the ICC’s first judicial reparations procedures unfold, even if the implementation of these reparations remains some time away.

The Story of Jewish Polygamy

Mark Goldfeder

This Article examines the intersection of law, religion, and culture in the evolution of polygamy in the Jewish tradition. It traces the development of Jewish thought on polygamy over time by assembling and analyzing relevant discussions, arguments, decisions, and biblical interpretations from the time of the Hebrew Bible passages, when plural marriage was an accepted part of Jewish society, to the early Middle Ages when the practice was formally and conclusively rejected. In doing so, the Article attempts to untangle the various influences—both practical and doctrinal, internal and external—on the evolution of marriage law in Jewish communities. These findings highlight the mutable nature of marriage norms within a religious community, the adaptability of religious doctrine to the practical needs of the community, and the potentially progressive force of religious morality in advancing women’s rights.

Mifepristone Protocol Legislation— The Anti-Choice Movement’s Disingenuous Method of Attack on the Reproductive Rights of Women and How Courts Should Respond

Laurah J. Samuels

In the past decade, five states have passed laws prohibiting the off-label use of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone. While these laws are ostensibly passed to protect women from misuse of a dangerous drug, in actuality they represent one of the latest steps in the anti-choice movement’s efforts to dismantle the abortion right iterated in Roe v. Wade and controlled by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. These laws prevent doctors from practicing evidence-based medicine in the manner that they believe best serves their patients, and cost women time and money while potentially exposing them to unnecessary side effects and risks. In addition, these laws force women with pregnancies of forty-nine to sixty-three days of gestation to undergo surgical abortions when medical abortions would be equally appropriate. As with most anti-choice initiatives, the women who are the most affected are those who are most vulnerable. Women without economic or family resources, those in abusive relationships, and teenagers, who often discover their pregnancies later than adult women, are required to undergo unnecessary surgical procedures and spend money and time that they cannot afford because of politically-motivated legislation without a legitimate medical rationale.

Maximizing VA Benefits for Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma: A Practical Guide for Survivors and Their Advocates

Evan R. Seamone and David M. Traskey

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is an imprecise term that basically relates to “sexual assault or repeated, unsolicited, threatening acts of sexual harassment that occurs during military service.” Despite a variety of definitions for “sexual assault” and “sexual trauma” (e.g., some including verbal harassment), and differences in populations sampled (e.g., active duty members versus treatment-seeking veterans), estimates consistently indicate that that just over 20% of females and 1% of males are sexually assaulted in a physical manner during their service. The numbers rise substantially to 20% of males and 70% of females in studies where verbal trauma is included in the definition. Importantly, the term MST was “created to capture the different forms of sexual maltreatment reported by military personnel.” Thus, MST “is not a syndrome, diagnosis, or construct associated with clear treatment indications.” Instead, it represents a type of stressor that can result in such maladies. Recent and renewed interest in the MST epidemic has resulted in legislative proposals to revamp the entire military justice system to hold perpetrators accountable and encourage survivors to report their abuse, as well as ongoing efforts within the Department  of Veterans Affairs (VA) to accommodate MST survivors’ needs for medical treatment and empathic, bias-free benefits adjudication. However, commentators emphasize the likelihood that pervasive systemic oversights within the VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) will result in continued incidences of MST among active duty service members and the erroneous denial of VA benefits to MST survivors who, in many cases, desperately need and rightfully deserve them.

A PDF of the full article can be accessed online here.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Coercing Consent to Surgery through the Medicalization of Gender Identity

Anne E. Silver

Can consent to medical treatment be voluntary when legal rights, benefits, and protections are conditioned on the completion of surgery? This Note will analyze this question by applying the doctrine of informed consent and basic bioethical principles to the “medical model” that has emerged as the dominant method for determining the legal status of transgender and intersex individuals. Under the medical model, reclassification of legal sex—a process that provides access to legal rights, resources, and benefits—is available to trans persons only after the individual has undergone permanent, body-altering surgery. This Note will argue that conditioning legal status on the completion of surgery coerces or manipulates consent in such a manner as to render consent involuntary under the doctrine of informed consent. This Note will suggest alternatives to the medical model that do not violate the doctrine of informed consent and basic bioethical norms.