This article argues first that the international community has elaborated a collective memory of rapes occurred during armed conflicts in the 20th century through the jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals and the activity of UN bodies; secondly, that memory of rapes is "gendered". To support this thesis, the article borrows the notion of "collective memory" introduced by the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs and analyses it from an international law perspective. The article starts with a short legal history of wartime rape, before analysing the main judgments rendered by the following international criminal tribunals: the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the International Criminal Court. A paragraph is devoted to the activity of the UN Special Representatives on Sexual Violence in Conflict and of the International Independent Commission of Inquiry for Syria. This contribution then uses the notion of collective memory to comment on the role of international bodies in the preservation of the memory of rapes occurred during armed conflicts.
Keywords: Rape - Women - Collective memory - International criminal courts