March 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

UN Report Says Hamas Used Rape as Crime of War

March 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

UN Report Says Hamas Used Rape as Crime of War

Latest Developments

The United Nations (UN) released a report on March 4 finding evidence that Hamas committed sexual crimes on October 7, including rape and gang rape. Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, led a two-week investigation in Israel during which her team reviewed more than 5,000 photos and 50 hours of audio and video footage. The team also interviewed more than 30 survivors and eyewitnesses. “Based on the totality of information gathered,” the team reported, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred at several locations.” The UN investigation also found “clear and convincing information” that Hamas terrorists committed sexual crimes against female hostages.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas rapists perpetrated brutal sexual violence against Israeli women and girls on October 7. The sexual violence had multiple eyewitnesses and was often filmed by the perpetrator and accomplices. Hamas members even admitted intent to commit sexual crimes in advance of the attack. The UN investigators had full access to all this evidence, yet — somehow — the UN is so dysfunctional that it took almost five months to issue a report that finds ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that sexual violence occurred. Sadly, the UN is broken and well beyond fixing.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“This should sound the alarm for policymakers in capitals around the globe, for UN officials in the bowels of the bureaucracy, and for all the protestors parroting Hamas’s hate. October 7 was not about securing a peaceful future for Palestinians. The mass number of rapes and sexual violence that occurred on October 7 and continues to be used against male and female hostages since then can never be legitimized, normalized, or seen as a form of resistance. Those who care about Palestinians and Israels alike will end their silence and punish those who engaged in this depravity.” — Toby Dershowitz, Managing Director of FDD Action

Mounting Evidence

The New York Times published a report on December 28 — based on 150 interviews of witnesses and first responders, video footage, and photographic evidence — that validated claims that Hamas carried out widespread sexual violence on October 7. Hamas denies that its members committed sexual crimes, but captured terrorists have admitted to rape in interrogations with Israeli authorities.

On February 21, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) published a report detailing Hamas’s sexual crimes. “Many of the rapes were conducted by Hamas terrorists in groups. Often, the rape was conducted in front of an audience — partners, family, or friends — in a manner intended to increase the pain and humiliation of all present,” the study found. The ARCCI’s findings followed months of testimony and collection of evidence.

UN Silence

Despite mounting evidence of sexual crimes, the UN has been reluctant to shame Hamas. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres first acknowledged reports of sexual violence on November 29, seven weeks after Hamas massacred more than 1,200 victims in Israel. UN Women — an agency tasked with promoting women’s rights — waited until December 1 to call out Hamas’s “gender-based atrocities and sexual violence.”

On March 4, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz recalled Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, to discuss an alleged attempt by the UN to “keep quiet” about the new investigatory report. “The shameful silence by the UN that is not holding even one discussion on the issue screams to the heavens,” Erdan said. A spokesman for the UN, however, denied that Guterres did “anything to keep the report ‘quiet.’”

Hamas Sexual Crimes Detailed in New Report on October 7 Attack,” FDD Flash Brief

UN Exports to Investigate Allegations of Hamas Sexual Violence as Crimes Against Humanity,” FDD Flash Brief

Slow International Response to Hamas’s Sexual Violence Chastised by Blinken,” FDD Flash Brief


International Organizations Israel Israel at War