Gender and the aftermath of war
: The response of international law to the impact of armed conflict on women

  • Olga Natalia Jurasz

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis considers one of the most compelling challenges facing post-conflict societies: the situation of women in the aftermath of war and the adequacy (or not) of international law in addressing that situation. This thesis assesses the key changes which occurred within international law in addressing the situation of women in the aftermath of conflicts. These changes were marked by developments concerning gender, armed conflict and post-conflict situations in specialised branches of international law, such as International Refugee Law (IRL), International Criminal Law (ICL), and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). Furthermore, the developments took place in the context of, and have been partially influenced by, other changes within the discipline, including the increased fragmentation and specialisation of branches of international law, greater attention to the role of gender within international law, and the emergence of the idea of jus post bellum as a legal framework addressing post-conflict situations. Whilst these developments are rarely (if at all) considered together, this thesis views them as closely linked and influential in shaping international legal responses to the situation of women in the aftermath of conflicts. The examination of the research questions in relation to the four specialised branches of international law (International Humanitarian Law, IHRL, IRL, and ICL) reveals that the past 30 years resulted in proliferation of rules applicable to the challenges faced by women in post-conflict situations. However, with the exception of ICL, the responses of international law to this problem are predominantly of soft nature and, furthermore, are often disjointed. The thesis concludes that in order to be effective and enforceable, the soft law developments need to be translated into the language of positive obligations, duties, and paired with a strong accountability mechanism, which is absent from the current legal framework.
Date of Award13 May 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorRyszard Piotrowicz (Supervisor) & Olaoluwa Olusanya (Supervisor)

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