The Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (PSV) Network was launched on 16 September 2015 at the IAP Annual Conference in Zurich. The Network is a forum for prosecutors working on, or interested in, accountability for conflict-related sexual violence crimes. It is designed to facilitate sharing expertise and ideas towards the collective improvement of approaches to prosecuting these crimes.

The idea for the PSV Network arose out of legacy work completed in the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) before its closure in 2017. Looking back over 20 years of experience with prosecuting sexual violence crimes at the ICTY, we saw real value in creating a forum to connect prosecutors all over the world now grappling with similar challenges. In theory, prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence should not be more difficult than prosecuting any other atrocities committed during conflict. In practice, we know that pervasive misconceptions about sexual violence and other barriers to bringing evidence forward continue to thwart successful outcomes.

Our vision for the PSV Network is a practical forum that will help prosecutors around the world to maximize accountability for conflict-related sexual violence crimes. While a range of other initiatives on conflict-related sexual violence exist, the PSV Network is the first crafted specifically with busy prosecutors in mind. We know from experience the intensity of the day-to-day demands on prosecutors working on conflict-related atrocities. Consequently, our priority is to provide a forum for problem-solving and develop legal tools that will facilitate the work of prosecutors. We have begun building the PSV website with this purpose in mind.

We are grateful to the IAP for hosting the Network within the IAP framework and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.

Michelle Jarvis

PSV Network Advisory Council member and inaugual Coordinator