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Jolie backs global anti-rape scheme

Angelina Jolie is to give her support to the launch of a new Government initiative aimed at tackling sexual violence in war zones across the world.

The actor will speak before an advance screening hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague of her film In The Land Of Blood And Honey, a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnia war.

The film shows the brutality of the war and is said to depict summary executions and the systematic rape of Muslim and Croat women.

The event at the Foreign Office in London, for a specially invited audience of senior public figures, lawyers and human rights campaigners, marks a new Government initiative aimed at helping secure more prosecutions against perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict zones across the world.

A UK team of experts will be created by the end of this year drawn from professions such as the police, lawyers, psychologists, doctors and forensic experts aimed at helping international efforts to gather evidence on sexual violence in conflict zones.

Members would also be able to help in mentoring and training organisations tackling sexual violence and provide expertise in drafting legislation aimed at strengthening sanctions against perpetrators.

The Government said it planned to use the UK presidency of the G8 next year to promote practical ways of tackling sexual violence in war zones.

Margot Wallstrom, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, said in November that there have been only 30 convictions in spite of an estimated 50,000 rapes committed during the Balkans conflict.

Jolie, a special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency, said earlier this month that she was "grateful and proud" to be officially named an honorary citizen of Sarajevo as a result of her film, her directorial debut.

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