Within the framework of the UN Women Transformative Justice Mentoring Project, PJI is working with the Special Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kosovo (SPRK), investigators of the Kosovo Police Unit for the Investigation of War Crimes, and a variety of victim representatives seeking accountability for conflict-related sexual violence and other war crimes in Kosovo.
The 15-month conflict that arose in Kosovo between Serbian armed forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998 is well known, as is the widespread sexual violence attendant to that conflict.
The PJI legal team has guided the prosecution office in its implementation of a methodology for prosecuting cold cases since 2016. We have created and shared powerful investigative and legal tools that have formed the basis of the work of the Kosovo Police War Crimes Investigation Unit, while also guiding local prosecutors in the preparation of their international crimes prosecution strategy. As a result of this support, many war crimes cases have been and are being investigated and prosecuted in Kosovo, bringing long awaited justice for hundreds of victims.
At the same time, PJI lawyers have assisted the four civil society organisations that have been designated by the government of Kosovo to represent the interests of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (the CSOs) together with the Victims Assistance and Advocacy Office and the Jahjahga Foundation (an initiative of former Kosovo President Jahjahga), all of which have made strides toward bolstering access to justice for the victims.
When war crimes cases began to be handed over by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in 2016 many of our prosecutors and investigators were still inexperienced in prosecuting war crimes cases related to Sexual Violence. PJI staff provided training and mentoring to prosecutors of the Special Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kosovo (SPRK) and investigators of the Kosovo Police Unit for the Investigation of War Crimes, both working on war crimes with elements of sexual violence. During this work we have had only positive experiences and appreciate the support PJI lawyers provided to the judicial system in Kosovo.Sevdije Morina, Office of the Chief State Prosecutor, Republic of Kosovo