An analysis of past and present transitional justice initiatives in Kosovo : with a special emphasis on gender justice

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Lumezi, Jora
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The conflict in Kosovo originated during the late 1980s, when the Kosovars urged on for an independent Kosovo, separated from the ethnic Serbia, at that time, referred to as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. As a consequence of this ethnic dissent, Serbia attacked Kosovo’s autonomy by complete takeover of state institutions. Hence, in 1996, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) started its operations with the aim of asserting the country’s autonomy. This resulted in the armed conflict ensued in 1998. The United Nations described Serbia’s violent campaign against Kosovo as an “ethnic cleansing” and afterwards the NATO’s interference as a “humanitarian intervention” (The Week, 2019, para. 16). With the international community’s interference, Serbian forces withdrew in 1999 and that marked the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which is still present in the post-war country. Thus, that was the beginning of transitional justice initiatives (TJ) in post-war Kosovo. This research aims to analyze the past and present transitional justice processes in the country, with special attention given to gender implications. Additionally, this will be an interdisciplinary analysis of the main initiatives of TJ in Kosovo carried out by the international community, the government of Kosovo, and the civil society. The analysis includes the immediate actions taken in the post-war emergency situation as well as the recent processes involving a number of stakeholders and their efforts on formulating a national TJ mechanism in the country. The initiative is led by the Government of Kosovo, as a state-initiative taken 23 years after the war between Kosovo and Serbia ended. A special importance throughout this analysis is given to gender justice, specifically focusing on a gender perspective of transitional justice mechanisms used in Kosovo. The gender perspective aims at taking into consideration the needs and demands of women, their impact and inclusion on transitional justice processes in the country, and their ongoing struggle towards receiving justice. Furthermore, the research tackles the issue of women in Kosovo being portrayed merely as victims of war, therefore over-simplifying their contribution and the different roles they played during and after the violent conflict. Additionally, special focus is given to the current drafting process of the National Strategy on Transitional Justice in Kosovo, closely following and analyzing its development by first-hand information given by members engaged in the process. It has been understood that the National Strategy aims to achieve an inclusive and comprehensive victim-centered and gender-sensitive approach to the Strategy, with the aim of reconciliation of all affected communities living in Kosovo.
Second semester University: University of Vienna
Kosovo, transitional justice, victims, gender, women, reconciliation