WORK WITH FAMILIES OF VICTIMS AND MISSING PERSONS
Throughout the countries of the former Yugoslavia the international law mandates prosecutions for crimes against humanity and genocide. These mandates are also meant to protect rights to truth and justice, combat impunity and provide restitution for the victims of war crimes. However, the tribunals that deal with these violations do not address the full range of crimes that were committed during the war in Kosovo or the multiple ways that war can impact individuals and communities. Underlying each of the transitional justice activities that we pursue is a commitment to uphold the rights of the victims and contribute to the holistic principles of transitional justice. An important conceptual framework for transitional justice conceives of victim’s rights as the right to know, the right to justice, the right to reparation and the right to non-recurrence. Through the process of researching and documenting Kosovo’s legacy of human rights violations we specifically enforce the right to know. We have also expanded our commitment to the victims of war by engaging in other activities including truth commissions, monitoring human rights and facilitating discussions about the past with women’s groups, ethnic minorities and victims associations. Through direct engagements with these groups we have achieved a greater awareness of victim’s needs and concerns.
COALITION FOR RECOM
In 2010 we joined the Coalition for RECOM, a regional group of civil society organizations and individuals who support the proposal for a regional truth commission RECOM.
RECOM is an initiative concerned with compiling a list of human losses and establishing the gross violations of human rights committed during the wars of the former Yugoslavia between the years 1991 and 2001.
Since our inception, we have been closely engaged in RECOM activities. As a leading coalition member in Kosovo, we have been responsible for organizing national consultations with civil society stakeholders and victims associations throughout various municipalities in Kosovo. These consultations facilitated interethnic dialogue and allowed members of the public to contribute their own ideas about how to effectively deal with the past in Kosovo. When the coalition for RECOM launched a public relations campaign for the collection of one million signatures, we advocated for support and were credited, along with other local organizations, for Kosovo’s successful campaign results. RECOM has now entered a new stage in which coalition members, like CRDP, are following up with parliament members to advance the goals of the project and support creation of the commission in the near future. Our involvement with RECOM reflects our commitment to establishing facts about the past and upholding the victim’s fundamental rights to truth and justice.
CALCULATING ECONOMIC LOSSES
One of the cardinal priorities for our centre is to research, publish and archive comprehensive data on economic losses that resulted from the war in Kosovo. Following the war there were several initiatives to establish facts about the violent conflict, yet no study has been performed which has allowed the public to understand the full magnitude of the damage. It is crucial that an inclusive calculation of all direct and indirect costs is completed and documented for the historical record. Our work on economic losses involves, not only an assessment of the damage, but also an analysis of the political and cultural dimensions of economic destruction. We will begin with a damage assessment of physical loss, later delving into the nuanced ways in which markets, income, pensions, inflation and other economic factors were changed by the events prior to the war, during the war itself and in the post-conflict reconstruction phase. The initial study represents the first stage in what will be a series of CRDP research projects investigating the economic devastation Kosovo experienced during the war. The rippling consequences of violent conflict may be viewed from many different angles, as it affects not only the welfare and security of today’s citizens, but also future generations who may suffer from the long term impact of these losses.
The CRDP co-launches newsletters on Dealing with the Past in Kosovo, with Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD), an association of German peace movement and non-profit organizations as well as individuals working for conflict transformation by non-violent means. Made in KS newsletter informs about process of dealing with and learning from the past in Kosovo. It aims to cover ongoing initiatives sourcing from the society: important events, new ideas, and in addition experiences from other areas in the region and the world as well as stories of people’s experiences.
Cross border citizens’ network for peace, inter-communal reconciliation and human security, supported by the European Commission is a network of non-governmental organisations engaged in research and advocacy in support of the reforms towards advancement of human rights in this region. As part of its activities, the network is conducting research on human security aimed at investigating the forms and sources of insecurity in the everyday lives of the citizens with a particular interests in schools, workplace and local community. The research findings will be used for the production of national human security reports and a regional human security report.