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Rape war crime verdict welcomed

February 23, 2001
Web posted at: 2:50 PM EST (1950 GMT)

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Editor's note: If you are planning to use the news story that this lesson plan is based on for a homework assignment, please write the URL on the board and have your students copy it. CNNfyi.com updates the site in the early evening, so students may have difficulty finding it without the URL. You can find the lesson plan by going to the Subject Areas page and clicking PREVIOUS in the square for Today's Lesson Plan.

Additionally, the subject of this news story, while very significant and important, may not be appropriate for all students due to the nature of the content. We strongly suggest that you read through the story and the discussion questions that follow before assigning the article.

After students read the CNNfyi.com article, "Historic war crime verdict vindicates women," ask the following questions:

1. Who are Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic? For what were they sentenced by the U.N. war crimes tribunal? What is historic about this judgement? What do some hope may result from the verdicts?

2. How have concerned groups reacted to the decision? Do you think that the sentences are sufficient? Explain. If not, what do you think that the punishments should be, and why? Does it surprise you that rape has just now been recognized as a war crime, and that until this time it was not punishable as such? Why do you think it has taken so long to recognize this action as a war crime?

3. Historically, the aftermath of World War II, the Nuremberg Trials and the founding of the United Nations established the concepts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and universal human rights. Allow students to research Web sites listed below, textbooks or other resources to answer the following questions:

  • What are "war crimes"? How do they differ from other crimes? What are "crimes against humanity"? How did governments previously view crimes committed within wars? What makes the most sense to you, and why?

  • What is an international war crimes tribunal? Do you think that a permanent war crimes tribunal ought to be established? Why or why not?

  • Where else in the world is there currently a crisis zone or war? Have tribunals been established to prosecute war crimes committed in these areas? For which countries do you believe there is need to create a tribunal, and why?

  • Do you think that the decision at The Hague will help women in other ways, and if so, how?

4. Using the last two Webs ites listed, students can read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the last site allows students to read it in any almost language). Discuss the rights listed and ask students to consider how well these rights are respected in various world countries. You can also have students choose an article about which they can write an essay, including the meaning of the article, what it means to them personally and ways in which to preserve and respect the rights discussed in the article in their home, school and/or community.



RELATED STORY:
Lesson plan: U.N. focuses on women in war zones
October 26, 2000

RELATED SITES:
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, Including Genocide
Crimes Against Humanity
Court TV: A Look Back at Nuremberg
The Avalon Project : The International Military Tribunal for Germany
Nuremberg - Educator's Guide
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights translations

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