Press release

William Hague and Angelina Jolie demand end to impunity for warzone rape

The Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy Angelina Jolie launch Protocol to increase prosecutions for sexual violence in conflict.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

The overwhelming majority of perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict are not held to account for the crimes they commit. This has led to a global culture of impunity for warzone rape.

The new International Protocol, the first of its kind, aims to set an international standard for how to investigate and document sexual violence, as a way of increasing the number of prosecutions for these crimes worldwide and ensuring that victims are cared for.

Mr Hague and Ms Jolie are calling for governments to announce their support for the Protocol, and pledge to implement it in full. They want it to become a turning point in how crimes of sexual violence in conflict are investigated, and ultimately deterred.

William Hague said:

This Protocol is the first of its kind, and we hope it will play a vital role in shattering the culture of impunity for sexual violence in conflict.

This impunity is a major factor in why these crimes continue.

Up to 50,000 women were victims of sexual violence during the war in Bosnia, but only just over sixty people have been successfully prosecuted for it.

From Central African Republic to Sudan to Syria, untold thousands of rapes have gone entirely unpunished.

We know that one of the primary reasons for the lack of prosecutions for sexual violence in conflict is the difficulty of gathering evidence that can stand up in court, and the trauma and the stigma faced by survivors in the process.

This Protocol is designed to overcome those fundamental barriers.

And we are determined to ensure that prosecutors, police forces, peacekeepers and civil society on the front line in this struggle know how best to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict so that perpetrators can be successfully prosecuted.

The International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Full text of Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy Angelina Jolie’s remarks

This video was shown during the launch. It explains what the international protocol is and how it can help increase prosecutions for crimes of sexual violence under international law.

Video explanation of the International Protocol

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Published 11 June 2014