Accessibility links

Breaking News

G8 Ministers Classify Rape, Sexual Violence As War Crimes


G8 foreign ministers pose for a group photograph ahead of their meeting in London.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations have declared that rape and sexual violence in conflicts are war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who hosted the G8 meeting in London on April 11, said the ministers agreed on setting up an international framework for investigating and prosecuting rape and that there would never be amnesties for sexual violence in peace treaties.

He called the use of rape as a war tactic "the slave trade of our generation."

The UN special envoy for refugees, Angelina Jolie, and the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, attended the meeting.

Jolie welcomed the "long-overdue" G8 declaration, while Bangura said it "breaks [the] silence on history's oldest and least-condemned crime."

The foreign ministers were also due to address the war in Syria, the crisis over North Korea, and the Iranian nuclear program.

Officials said Syria and North Korea were discussed in a meeting on April 10 between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov said Moscow and Washington have “no differences” over North Korea and warned against any escalation of the situation with “military maneuvers.”

Representatives of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, meanwhile, held meetings with some G8 foreign ministers to discuss increasing aid to the opposition.

The G8 ministers were also expected to discuss the failure of the recent international talks on the Iranian nuclear program.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, BBC, dpa, and AP