This report, characteristically enough, never mentions Islam, and implies that these laws are all particularly Sudanese. Yet every legal provision it mentions is Sharia-based. It sounds from this as if Sudan’s rape laws are based on Sharia, which allows for rape and adultery to be established only by the testimony of four male Muslim witnesses who actually saw the act. This is based on Qur’an 4:15 and other passages, along with ahadith about an accusation of adultery against Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha.
By Amber Henshaw for BBC News (thanks to JE):
Sudan must overhaul its legal system to stop mass rape from being committed in the war-torn region of Darfur, an aid agency says in a report.
Rape victims have almost no access to justice and even risk being prosecuted for having had sex outside marriage.
Because if they cannot produce four witnesses and they end up giving birth to a child, the pregnancy becomes evidence against them.
Refugees International said government soldiers and affiliated militias were often responsible for the rapes.
Khartoum denies that rape has been used as a weapon of war in Darfur and says Sudan already punishes rape harshly….
Refugees International said the government was more likely to take action against those who reported and documented rape than those who committed it.
Its report said the Sudanese rape laws needed to be completely revised to protect women and girls from systemised sexual attacks.
The report said the high incidence of sexual violence in Darfur had been well documented in the past, but existing regulations made it “all but impossible” to prosecute rapists.
It added that women who admitted being raped also risked being prosecuted themselves for having sex outside marriage – an offence punishable by 100 lashes or death by stoning.
The report made 24 recommendations for change, including the need for more judges to be trained and more female police officers to be recruited.
Yeah, that’ll change Sharia law, all right.
The report also urged Sudan to expand its definition of rape to include sexual assault with objects, including rifle barrels.
It said courts should also give equal weight to the evidence of both men and women.
Islamic law disallows the victim’s evidence in her own rape case. And the Qur’an values a woman’s testimony in general as half that of a man (2:282). So the report is asking Sudan to discard the Sharia in this particular. I expect that the derivation of these laws will make Sudanese officials reluctant to heed this report and do away with them.