In 1993, a United Nations study reported that Serbia had used rape as a weapon of terror in the war in Bosnia, although the number of provable cases of rape (3,000) was substantially lower than an earlier estimates of between 10,000 and 60,000. Muslim women were raped as part of the campaign of ethnic cleansing to drive them from their homes in order to seize their land. Soldiers were either encouraged to commit rape by their officers or were punished for not doing so.
In the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, teenagers were deliberately raped to force them to bear the enemy's children.
One out of every two women arrested by the military in the Philippines is forced to undress. Among those arrested, 14% were slapped, boxed or severely mauled. Another 14% were harassed and threatened with rape or death.
An argument can be made that States should not be held liable for sexual abuse and slavery that occurred at a time before they were bound by conventional international law. However, customary international law protecting women from sexual slavery during wartime predates the United Nations system. Rape committed by soldiers has been prohibited by law for centuries. Article 46 of the Hague Convention IV (1907) requires that "family honour and rights" be respected.
War is full of humiliating, violent and life-threatening events that happen to you, the man next to you or to the enemy. The dehumanizing effects of soldiering in general and being a soldier in war-time in particular means that soldiers live in a state of perpetual terror. But they don't feel anything much of the time. When human beings undergo deep psychological traumas and are blocked from releasing them, they make desperate attempts to reconnect with their humanity. Raping women and witnessing their terrified screams is one way in which men get to hear the sound of their own buried terror. Any relief is only momentary. In the long run the effect is to compound the terror.