Sexual violence on trial: Impunity and transformative gender justice in post-conflict Latin America


12 September 2021, 15:30-17:00

Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor

CEDLA Lecture

Speaker: Jelke Boesten, King’s College London


In 2016, the case known as ‘Sepur Zarco’ saw two military officers convicted for crimes against humanity and sexual and domestic slavery in Guatemala. Following the analysis of Jo-Marie Burt (2019), the case had transformative effects on the victim-survivors as well as on the idea of gender justice more broadly. Considering this remarkable trial and its effects, in this lecture Jelke Boesten asks if criminal justice for conflict related sexual violence can bring about transformative gender justice in Latin America by unpacking ongoing trials in Peru. There, during the counterinsurgency against Shining Path (1980-2000) the military used sexual violence just as systematically as in Guatemala in the 1980s. However, impunity persists. The paper will reflect on the ongoing court case against thirteen ex-military in Peru, known as ‘Manta y Vilca’, to examine whether these difficult processes contribute to what we might call ‘transformative gender justice’ in Latin America.