News 10 Jun 14

Angelina Jolie Dedicates Summit to Bosnia Rape Victim

Film star and UN envoy Jolie dedicated a high-profile London summit on sexual violence in conflict to a rape victim who she met on her recent visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Angelina Jolie and British foreign secretary William Hague at the London summit.

Jolie used her opening speech at the conference on Tuesday to highlight the need for action on wartime sexual violence by recalling a story told to her by the Bosnian rape victim whose attacker during the 1992-95 conflict went unpunished.

The Bosnian woman told her that “she had yet to tell her child that she had been raped because she was so humiliated and she could not bring herself to admit it to him”, Jolie said, according to the AP news agency.

“And she felt that having had no justice for her particular crime, in her particular situation, and having seen the actual man who raped her on the streets free, she really felt abandoned by the world,” she added.

Jolie visited Bosnia on a fact-finding trip with British foreign secretary William Hague in March, met victims from Srebrenica and praised a Bosnian initiative to train peacekeepers to help stop rape being used as a weapon against civilians in conflict zones.

Up to 50,000 women are estimated to have been raped during the Bosnian war, but only around 30 direct perpetrators have been convicted by local courts and the international tribunal in The Hague.

The British politician and the Hollywood star launched the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative together in 2012.

Hague has said that he was inspired by the Bosnian war film directed by Jolie, ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’, which highlighted the use of rape as a military tactic.

He told the BBC on Tuesday that sexual violence in conflict was “one of the great mass crimes of the 20th century and the 21st century”.

“If anything, this is getting worse - war zone rape as a weapon of war, used systematically and deliberately against civilian populations,” Hague said.

The summit in London will attempt to draft an international agreement on standards for documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflict zones.

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