On October 23rd, at the invitation of Kosovo’s President Dr. Vjosa Osmani Sadriu, PJI Co-Director Dr. Kathleen Roberts contributed to a panel about gender-sensitive transitional justice in Kosovo as part of the first Women, Peace, and Security Forum held in Pristina, Kosovo.

The WPS Forum came at a time when Europe’s peace and security were under attack, with women and girls once again at the centre of violence, torture, and inhuman treatment. The Forum’s goal was to bring together leaders, experts, academics, civil society representatives, influencers, youth, and other groups of interest in the heart of the Western Balkans to discuss the challenges to the WPS agenda in these uncertain times, as well as to elaborate on the underlying importance of this agenda for enduring, equitable, and sustainable peace.

Dr. Roberts described how PJI works to support victims’ access to justice at home, by working shoulder to shoulder with key actors in domestic systems who are in the best position to push justice forward. She praised UN Women Kosovo for its consultative, victim-centric model, the Kosovo prosecution service for its willingness to adapt to the needs of survivors, and most of all the courage and perseverance of Kosovo’s survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and their allies and advocates.

She described how early in her work in Kosovo she had been privileged to meet with a relatively large group of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. These tenacious women described how they had pursued their cases with KFOR, UNMIK, and EULEX, and how disappointed they were by the lack of communication and lack of information about their cases. The international community let Kosovo’s survivors down. Dr. Roberts expressed admiration for these and other survivors who were prepared to hope for justice once again now that their own local prosecutors, investigators, and advocates were finally in a position to take their cases forward.

Dr. Roberts emphasized that there is no substitute for justice at home. Although equity is still a challenge in Kosovo, remarkable progress is being made. When PJI started work with local Kosovo justice practitioners there were zero conflict-related sexual violence cases under active investigation; today there are 64 such cases.

Dr. Roberts was joined on the panel by other notable speakers, namely; Albulena Haxhiu, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kosovo; Yevheniia Kravchuk, Member of Parliament of Ukraine; Delphine Borione, Ambassador at Large for Human Rights, France; Drita Hajdari, Head War Crimes Prosecutor for the Special Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kosovo; Emily Kenney, Policy Specialist on Rule of Law and Transitional Justice, UN Women; and Feride Rushiti, Director of the Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture.

Find out more about the WPS forum here: https://wpsforum-rks.com/