The conference hosted by Angelina Jolie and William Hague draws much-needed attention to the use of rape as a weapon of war – a phenomenon as old as conflict itself. Yet our culture of impunity makes it difficult to identify and prosecute individuals when acts of collectivised depravity take place on a vast scale.
This is what protected Russian and Allied soldiers who raped their way across Europe in 1945, attacking not only Germans but French, Polish and Italian women as well.
Before we strike virtuous poses about African atrocities, it would be a sobering exercise to admit that rape was the ubiquitous war crime of all Allied armies in the Second World War.
As Germany’s brutal soldiers were severely punished for rape, Nuremberg was cynically glossing over Allied atrocities when it introduced rape as a “new” crime against humanity.
(Dr) John Cameron