„The address of all crimes committed in Kosovo is Serbia, but there is still no justice for war crimes and Serbian genocide. It is our institutional and state obligation to bring justice. There can be no peace and reconciliation without justice,“ the Chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca said on Wednesday. Kosovo institutions intend to sue Serbia for genocide, Kosovo President, Vjosa Osmani announced.
On Wednesday, Konjufca and Osmani also met with Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman, an LVV MP, who is also the first Albanian woman to speak out publicly and testify about being a victim of rape during the war.
At a meeting with Osmani-Sadriu, Krasniqi-Goodman suggested that April 14th, the day she was, as she testified, raped when she was 16 years old, be marked in Kosovo as the Day of Sexual Violence Survivors during the last war in Kosovo.
The proposal received the support of Konjufca and Osmani – which they both confirmed in press releases and social media posts.
At these meetings, it was once again highlighted that Kosovo has an obligation toward „victims of violence by Serb forces“ and that it is important to bring the perpetrators of war crimes to justice.
Osmani reiterated that „more than 20,000 cases of sexual violence were committed by the Serbian barbaric regime,“ arguing that „crimes committed by Serbia, that it is still denying, should be talked about even louder.“
345 rape victims identified during the Kosovo war
The Initiative for Documenting Sexual Violence Crimes during the War has collected data on 345 survivors of sexual violence in the past two years (2019-2020). According to a report published by the Kosovo Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims on Wednesday, 345 cases have been documented, 11% of the victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the violence, 325 were women and girls and 20 were men, 6% of victims are members of Roma, Bosniak, Ashkali and Egyptian communities; 63% of sexual violence cases occurred in villages and 37 in cities.
Two years ago, the Humanitarian Law Center of Kosovo warned the Kosovo Assembly to pay attention to legal qualifications, bearing in mind that even 20 years since the end of the conflict, there is no verdict which qualified crimes in Kosovo as genocide.
Kosovo to file a „genocide lawsuit“
Kosovo’s new president says Serbia must “answer for genocide.”
As Osmani recently told the Irish Times, Kosovo intends to sue Serbia for genocide. Kosovo wants Serb leaders to „atone“ for crimes committed during a 1998-9 war and for the systematic oppression of Kosovar Albanians that preceded it, Osmani said.
In her words, those crimes constitute not only “ethnic cleansing” but “genocide”, the Irish Times reports.
“The will and intention of Serbia to exterminate, to destroy a people based on their nationality, was clear,” Osmani said, adding:
“Justice for the 13,000 people killed in the conflict, the one million displaced or expelled and the 1,600 who are still missing, must be the foundation for a long-sought deal to normalise relations with Serbia, which is a condition for both Balkan states to eventually join the European Union.”
The Kosovo President claims that Kosovo will be preparing for a genocide case against Serbia, without specifying before which court. She underlined that the majority of witnesses are still alive – “and the evidence is there and it’s clear-cut.”
The Irish Times noted the difficulty of proving that a state committed genocide. The newspaper recalled that the international court convicted Bosnian Serb military and political officials of committing genocide against Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995, but the United Nations’ highest court ruled that while Serbia had failed in its duty to prevent genocide there, it was not directly responsible for the massacre.
While accusing her counterpart in Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic, of “sharing the expansionist mindset” of Slobodan Milosevic, Osmani said that once they sit at the table with Serbia – “we can look in their eyes, so that they can ask for forgiveness for crimes that were committed.”
“We need vaccines right now, not the dialogue”
The Irish Times writes that – despite the announcements from Brussels – a first meeting with Vucic may be some way off, as Osmani says her current priority is to source Covid-19 vaccines.
While over three million doses of vaccines have already been administered in Serbia, which is set to produce its first vaccine, Sputnik V in June – as Vucic announced today, Kosovo has only received 24,000 doses from the humanitarian Covax program.
“The message I’m conveying to all international partners is that we cannot focus – and neither should they – on the [Kosovo-Serbia] dialogue while people are dying. We need vaccines right now, not the dialogue,” Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu told the Irish Times.
14 prilli për dikë mund të jetë ditë e një përvjetori të rëndësishëm, datë e lindjes, ditë e parë e…
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