In conflict zones, sexual assault is often nearly as difficult to prosecute as it is to prevent. A new UK-lead effort announced last month will create special “flying squads” to investigate rape cases in these troubled areas and implement a network of victim support services. The proposed system has earned support from actor, director and activist Angelina Jolie.
The Independent reports that the plan will utilize Britain’s G8 presidency next year, to “deliver justice in a form of war crime which had proved notoriously difficult to punish through the international legal system.” The BBC describes the program further, noting that “experts will be trained to deploy at short notice to gather evidence in conflict-hit areas.”
Other G8 members as well as UN powers have pledged support to the efforts, with the possibility of introducing a formal UN resolution.
It’s little surprise that the proposed initiative caught the eye of Angelina Jolie. Jolie, who is a UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has made headlines for championing the cause of ending sexual exploitation in foreign lands. Her 2011 film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” focused on the violence committed against women during the Bosnian war.
Jolie recently spoke about the initiative. She stressed the impact of sexual violence, saying, “Throughout history, rape and sexual violence have been used as weapons of war … And in modern warfare, as women and girls have become primary targets, the problem has grown tremendously.”
Photo credit: World Economic Forum