European Union Office in Kosovo 
European Union Special Representative in Kosovo

EU supports Dealing with the Past as a process which reaches all groups and communities

13/02/2017 - 14:27

The speech of the Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative Nataliya Apostolova at the consultative meeting on the establishment of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation

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Dear Mr. President,

Dear Prime Minister,

Dear Speaker of the Assembly,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

The European Union is a significant supporter of transitional justice initiatives across the globe. In 2015 the EU adopted the EU Transitional Justice Policy Framework. This framework sets out how the EU can engage in situations where past abuses, including gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law have occurred, through supporting a context-specific combination of measures promoting truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.

It's really important that initiatives as the one today must be locally and nationally owned, inclusive, gender sensitive and respect states’ obligations under international law. Therefore, the participation of civil society, victims, persons belonging to minority groups, women and youth in such processes plays an important role.

The right to truth is contained in international legal and policy instruments, most notably the Additional Protocol (I) to the Geneva Conventions (1949), and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (article 24).

The EU will encourage truth-seeking initiatives based on international law and best practice. The EU supports close cooperation between truth commissions and civil society, both before and during the work of a commission, as well as at implementation stage.

Promoting and strengthening processes of reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation and the search for justice for crimes committed, as well as the commitment to the respect of human rights and international law, are key principles which the EU and Kosovo are dedicated to under the SAA.

In view of the ongoing process of drafting a national strategy on transitional justice, conscious of the limited results of the Inter Ministerial Working Group on Dealing with the Past (IMWG DwP) has so far produced in this regard, we hope that any initiatives taken towards truth and reconciliation builds on lessons learned from this process and complementarity will be ensured.

Significantly, the EU is partnering with UN Women and UNDP in Kosovo to promote gender-sensitive transitional justice in Kosovo, by increasing the extent to which they prioritize victims and take into account the different needs of conflict affected populations. In Kosovo activities were focused around the National Council for Survivors of Sexual Violence during the War and the Inter-Ministerial Working group on Dealing with the Past.

The EU will continue supporting Dealing with the Past process with clear aim, structure and leadership, and a process which reaches towards all groups and communities. The aim should be to help the authorities address the issues of transitional justice with more commitment and a more systematic manner, while ensuring that the voices of all victims are heard.

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