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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: November 2017

General introduction

Summary

I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, (awesome) goddess – of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.

THE TOPIC AND THE CENTRAL QUESTION

THE CENTRAL QUESTION

‘Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.’ Article 16(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear about how it should be. Yet the words ‘I do’ are not always spoken out of free will: some marriages are the result of deception, manipulation, threats or physical abuse – practices that are generally not associated with the term ‘marriage’. This book is about a phenomenon known as forced marriage: a marriage (i.e. a marital or marital-like association), which at least one of the partners entered into against their will as a result of some form of coercion exerted by another party. More specifically, this research focuses on the criminalisation of this practice on two different levels: the field of Dutch criminal law and the field of international criminal law, with a particular focus on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The study revolves around the following central question:

Should forced marriage be criminalised under Dutch and international criminal law, and if so, how?

This research question is divided into three sub-questions:

What does the phenomenon of forced marriage entail?

What is the doctrinal basis for criminalisation under Dutch criminal law and international criminal law and what are the differences and similarities between these two levels?

What is the current legal framework for dealing with forced marriages under Dutch criminal (and civil) law and international criminal law and what are the differences and similarities between these two levels?

The central question can be answered after these three questions have been addressed.

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