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ICC appeal for Africa war victims

10 September 08 19:47 GMT

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has appealed for $14m (£8m) to help the nearly two million victims of sexual violence in Africa's wars.

The ICC said sex attacks against women and girls had been found to be the most widespread form of criminality.

Rape has become a weapon of war often used to fuel ethnic cleansing, it said.

The ICC said funding was needed for the rehabilitation of victims in northern Uganda, DR Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan's region of Darfur.

Incomplete justice

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said women had become the primary victims of war and civil unrest, and that violence against women was used as a form of ethnic cleansing.

"Rape has become, viciously, a weapon of war meant to punish communities," said Mr Tutu, who is one of five directors of the court's Trust Fund for Victims (TVF).

"Our response to gender-based violence has been inadequate," he said at the appeal launch in The Hague.

Denmark announced a $500,000 donation to start the fund, which will see its money allocated over three years.

The money raised by the global appeal will be in addition to the $3m earmarked by the ICC for reparations to war victims and community rehabilitation projects.

The fund was set up to help victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been referred to the ICC - an independent, permanent war crimes court.

The former French politician Simone Veil, who chairs TVF's board of directors, said: "The victims must be taken into account, otherwise justice is incomplete."

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