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Angelina Jolie steps up fight for justice for war zone sex assault victims

The actress joined Lord Hague and Baroness Anelay to address officials at London's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Angelina Jolie marked the fifth anniversary of her Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) on Monday (13Mar17) by calling for war zone sex offenders to be held accountable for their actions.

The Tomb Raider star teamed up with former British Foreign Secretary William Hague to launch the project in 2012 in a bid to crack down on sex attacks in conflict areas, and she has now returned to London to step up their campaign with the Time to Act initiative.

She appeared alongside Lord Hague and Baroness Anelay at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the British capital to announce the latest effort, which aims to bring justice to victims of the war crimes.

"When this kind of violence and abuse happens in peacetime, we are absolutely clear it is a crime that deserves to be punished by law," Angelina tells People.com. "But when it happens in the middle of a conflict, on a mass scale, with such brutal violence, it is treated as something impossible to prevent or somehow justified by the climate of war."

"All of us here know that this is simply not good enough. We are tired of the excuses put forward, time and again, to justify neglecting crimes that disproportionately affect women and children, and that contribute to the holding back of women's rights in many countries for generation after generation."

At Monday's Time to Act launch, Angelina also helped to unveil a new version of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, a tool which will help field experts gather evidence for future prosecutions.

In her address to officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, she explained, "We live in a world where tens of thousands, often hundreds of thousands can be raped. All of us involved in PSVI are proud of the work so far, but with much more to do we are very focused on the next steps."

The goal now of PSVI leaders involves "taking the tools that have been developed into the field to help document crimes and support prosecutions, working with militaries to change doctrine and training, and pushing for the implementation of laws to protect the very vulnerable victims," she continued.

Jolie, a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will continue her humanitarian campaign work in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday (15Mar17), when she will address attendees at the Annual Sergio Vieira de Mello Memorial Lecture. The event at the United Nations Assembly Hall will highlight key humanitarian themes and issues in line with the work of the late U.N. Brazilian diplomat, who was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003.

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