Jolie backs UK plans for conflict zone rape squad

 

Britain is to set up dedicated teams to investigate rape in conflict zones. The specialist "flying squads" will provide a range of services, from gathering evidence against perpetrators to provide counselling for the victims of sexual offences, under an initiative due to be announced by the Government today.

The plan is to use the UK's presidency of the G8 next year to establish a structure to deliver justice in a form of war crime which had proved notoriously difficult to punish through the international legal system.

Other members of the group and the UN are said to have pledged their support and a formal resolution, reinforcing legal powers of inquiry and jurisdiction, may be introduced.

William Hague is due to introduce the scheme in the Foreign Office this evening following the screening of a feature film about sexual violence during the Bosnia war, In the Land of Blood and Honey. Angelina Jolie, the director, and members of the cast will give talks to an invited group of MPs, activists and lawyers on what taking part in the project had meant to them.

Jolie, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees, had campaigned against the prevalence of sexual attacks in places of strife and many survivors of rapes in Balkan prison camps have praised her for exposing the horror of what took place in the prison camps.

But the film has also proved contentious with the Women Victims of War Association condemning it as exploitative. The organisation's president, Bakira Hasecic, said: "I could not even watch two minutes of the clips. What she has done is hard and disgusting. It became painful to watch, I felt like I was being beaten, tortured and raped again."

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