03 December 2021
Prime Ministry of Kosovo
Ndërtesa e Qeverisë,
Sheshi “Nëna Terezë”
10000 Prishtinë, Republika e Kosovës
REGARDING THE 423 FIRST REGISTERED RAPE VICTIMS OF THE 1998-99 WAR INITIATED BY UNMIK AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Dear Prime Minister Kurti:
Back in the spring of 1999, UNMIK and local authorities encouraged the rape victims of the war (sexually abused victims) to register and thus provide the new authorities in Kosovo with much-needed evidence of criminal or asymmetrical warfare, and thus also that benefit the female victims. Most of the female victims who were contacted opposed registration as sexually abused victims of war, because, as they said, they would be punished for life, including lifelong degrading, stigmatizing, and humiliating treatment by civil society.
And they were right.
After the war was over, everyone tried to compensate for the damage caused by it: the buildings, physical damage except internal damage which no one took the time to heal.
Year after year, the government has built different statues for different heroes, but there was no hero in the women who were raped during the war in 1998-99–they were not recognized as victims of the war, or at least as veterans. Almost twenty years were necessary for them to be accepted and known by their state, just to be considered “the shame of society”.
Not all the women who were raped during the last war in Kosovo live there. Some of them left the country during or after the war, while others were brought to the point of committing suicide and yet another part of them had no choice but to accept their fate and continue with a hole in the heart, a hole that the society made deeper by pointing the finger towards them.
During the time of the past governments, almost every month, we wrote to ministers and former prime ministers pleading for compensation of these women, but for eighteen years they received no support from their own government. We are well aware that nothing can replace the sufferings and the damage. Even the pension they take after eighteen years is not enough, is not able to meet their present needs let alone compensate for the time they have been forgotten by everyone around by not even being able to get a good medical treatment.
Therefore, we ask you, dear prime minister not to continue this way, not to follow in the footsteps of previous governments and former prime ministers, not to forget this group of people which the society has left behind and past governments went on with their daily life without taking the time to truly meet their needs.
A compensation for the eighteen years mentioned above, good treatment by the doctors, helping them with medicines which they find impossible to afford, would be a great way to tell them that they are not suffering alone and abandoned.
1. In my previous articles, to the then responsible government, I suggested a quick solution that can be set up by the responsible minister and the government within a week:
Implement a temporary compensation of € 500 per month, without income tax, before a final solution is reached.
2. The costs can be placed in an intergovernmental account and balanced either by budgeting the costs in the ordinary annual budget and/or claiming compensation on behalf of the female war crime victims through national or international legal systems.
3. Apply to UN / UNMIK, the EU and international organizations for support funds to cover an estimated annual total cost of 2,538,000.00 euros. UNMIK initiated and pushed for the registration of the female war victims and is thus co-responsible for the situation these 423 female war victims ended up in.
If any politician should think that this amount is too much, I can assure them that it is not. Not only were these women victims of war crimes, but they were also forced into this registration situation by the authorities after the war to secure vital evidence of committed war crimes by the Serbs.
Until now, politicians have shown a frightening lack of political courage and practical ability to help defenceless victims.
As long as there is breath in my body, my intention is to help Kosovo bring justice to these female war victims. As you may already be aware of, I have spent the last twenty-two years of my life helping the people of Kosovo by documenting the war crimes committed during the war, both visually and in writing (Please visit: www.kosovotrilogy.com).
Nowadays, especially in the period 2013-2018, my mission has been primarily to educate the Serbian people, especially the younger generation, about the events that took place in 1998-99 in Kosovo and the urgent need of finding the still missing people from the war. There are families in both Kosovo and Serbia who still miss their loved ones, (Please visit also: www.truth-commission.com).
A new government means new hope, and I know for a fact that after you, Mr. Kurti, took over as Prime Minister to lead the state, you became a hope for all the people of Kosovo, especially for the women who were abandoned by their own for almost eighteen years.
So, I trust that you will start looking into compensating fairly all of these first 423 registered female war victims.
Phone no: +47 90653680