Keywords: Violence Against Women; CEDAW Committee; General Recommendation; Gender; International Custom.
The contribution is aimed at analysing the General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women (VAW), adopted by the CEDAW Committee on 14 July 2017, which updates and complements General Recommendation No. 19 adopted in 1992 by the same body. General Recommendation No. 35 marked another huge step forward in the international action to counter VAW, in particular because the Committee argued that «the prohibition of gender-based violence against women has evolved into a principle of customary international law». In this note, I will critically reflect on this affirmation and I will contend that it only partially corresponds to State practice and "opinio juris". I will argue that the prohibition of some but "not all" forms of VAW have consolidated as customary international law, and I will support the main argument by considering VAW as a broad notion which encompasses all crimes committed against women because they are women or that affect women disproportionately. Before discussing the nature of the rule prohibiting VAW in international law, I will briefly analyse some key innovative aspects of the recommendation.