Justice for the survivors of the Conflict-Related Sexual Crime in Kosovo
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) recognizes Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) as a war tactic and that it is an important issue in relation to transitional justice. Since the year 2000, 9 related Security Council Resolutions were launched: UNSCR 1325 (2000), UNSCR 1820 (2008), UNSCR 1888 (2009), UNSCR 1889 (2009), UNSCR 1960 (2010), UNSCR 2106 (2013), UNSCR 2122 (2013), UNSCR 2242 (2015) as well as the 2017 Secretary-General Report on CRSV (S/2017/2249).
The conference on the Access to Justice and Reparations for CRSV survivors was hosted by UN Women in the Sirius Hotel in Pristina on 31 October 2017. The opening of the conference on further addressed the 17th anniversary of the UNSCR1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) highlighting the importance of acknowledging gendered realities in conflict.
As part of her last official visit in Kosovo, Special Rapporteur to the EU Parliament on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunackek, took part in this conference. Stating that justice can be achieved only by punitive measures for perpetrators and reparations for victims, she further added that a zero-tolerance policy for conflict crimes should be encouraged in both, Kosovo and on a global scale.
During her speech, the Ex-President of Kosovo, Ms. Jahjaga, stated that CRSV survivors need to be heard and their dignity protected. This includes psychosocial support, a search for justice and a common effort to combat stigmatization to avoid harmful marginalization from the rest of society.
A Prosecutor of the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo, Ms. Drita Hajdari, emphasized the importance of UN Women’s support to war crime cases. According to her, study visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as experience with similar cases have proven to be valuable learning opportunities. A few other study visits were conducted to empower the judiciary in Kosovo, including one at the International Crime Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.
UN Development Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Andrew Russell, highlighted the importance of working together with those women that continuously fight for gender equality and justice for GRSV survivors. He added that “although we are late, it is never too late and it needs to be done.”
The speech by the chief of the Agency for Gender Equality, Edi Gusia, was very moving and underlined the importance of addressing issues of CRSV, breaking the silence of a formerly heavily stigmatized topic, and working together towards the access for justice and reparations for the survivors.