Angelina Jolie pays respect to Srebrenica victims
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie on Friday paid respect to victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre after urging the international community to stop the use of sexual violence as a war weapon, AFP reports.
Jolie was accompanied to the ill-fated town by British Foreign Minister William Hague, while on a trip to Bosnia.
At the Srebrenica memorial centre museum, Jolie and Hague met women who were raped during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, as well as women whose beloved ones were killed in the massacre.
Dressed in black, with a black headscarf to respect customs of Muslim women when they go at a cemetery, Jolie laid a wreath in front of a stone monument for the victims.
She then marched alongside a wall on which the names of some 8,000 people killed in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II were written.
Noticeably emotional and barely able to contain tears, the actress and campaigner did not talk to journalists.
Afer capturing Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, Serb forces executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
More than 6,000 massacre victims, whose remains were found in mass graves, were laid to rest at a memorial cemetery in the town.
Earlier on Friday, Jolie and Hague took part at a conference in the Bosnian capital on sexual violence in war, organised by the Balkan country's defence ministry.
Jolie, whose 2011 directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey" dealt with violence against women during Bosnia's war, urged peace missions around the world to make combatting sex crimes a priority.
"The use of rape as a weapon of war is one of the most harrowing and savage of these crimes against civilians," Jolie told the conference.
"This is rape so brutal, with such extreme violence, that it is even hard to talk about it," said the 38-year-old actress, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN's refugee agency.
Jolie and Hague are due to co-host a high-profile summit on the same topic in London in June, which is expected to be the largest ever gathering of its kind, according to the British foreign minister.
Hague said that today "sexual violence is used deliberately as a weapon of war" in the conflicts in Syria, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
"I hope we can all work together to prevent the horrors seen in this region from being repeated in future conflicts anywhere in the world," he said.
Around 20,000 women, mostly Muslim, were raped during Bosnia's inter-ethnic war in the 1990s, according to local estimates. So far only 33 people have been convicted for the crimes by local courts and 30 by a UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Bosnia's war between its Croats, Muslims and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives.