Jahjaga: There can be no peace without addressing the war crimes

Jahjaga: There can be no peace without addressing the war crimes

Pristina, June 13, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, who is staying in London, participated today in the official opening of the Global Summit for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflicts.

Thus Summit has been hosted by the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague and Special Representative of the High UNO Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Angelina Jolie.

Present in the Summit are senior figures from  all around the world, representatives from the United Nations, foreign ministers of different countries.

Present in this Summit is also the EU chief of foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton.

President Jahjaga said that she’s addressing to the participants in this summit as representative of a society which has suffered a lot from repression and war.

“The trauma that we suffered was a topic of this important discussion here in London along with the ways that we face it. Often, in countries involved in wars, due to our domestic priorities and the need to move forward, we forget the collective drama that we have lived”, declared Jahjaga.

She said that if the crimes of the past are not addressed, namely torture and serious violations of human rights, there will not be recovery and peace.

“I’d like to congratulate the foreign secretary, Mr. Hague and British government for understanding the social, psychological and cultural consequences of the conflict and the urgent need to put an end to impunity, something which has often been associated with this crime”, said Jahjaga.

The Kosovan president said that sexual violence in the context of the conflict and in whatever other context, is a torture.

“Prevention of this form of torture will prevent a great injustice. We cannot further treat sexual violence in conflicts as a collateral damage of the war. If we don’t address sexual violence during the war, then we only tell half of the story of the war, because this type of war crime not only victimizes those who have been affected in a direct way, but also the families and communities around them”, said Jahjaga.

According to her, each experience can help to understand more about this complex phenomenon and Kosovo too can contribute in this aspect.

“As many of you present in this room know, 15 years ago, we had a destroyed country. The war caused tens of thousands of dead civilians, one million or half of the population of Kosovo was displaced, there were many victims of torture, physical destruction and we inherited hostility and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Serb forces”, added president Jahjaga.

“During the war in Kosovo, sexual violence has been used as an instrument of terror, like the International Tribunal for the war crimes in former Yugoslavia declared, an instrument of terror used during the ethnic cleansing to make sure people never returned to their homes and if and when they returned to their communities, they would forever suffer the scars left on them by those events. Their goal was to spread hatred and to continue the war even after the war had ended on the battlefield”, said she.

“Rape had been used in order to destroy families, humiliate women and also men, who were perceived as protectors of their families. The victims of these crimes were deeply wounded, but not broken. Our recovery from the war was not easy. There was a need for military intervention and generosity by international community and will from our citizens to arrive where we are today. There was also a need for courage and political will in order to find original solutions, perceived to suit our context, for these terrible events”, concluded Jahjaga. /ibna/