TransConflict is pleased to present the profile of the Centre for Research, Documentation and Publication from Kosovo, a member of the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation.
- Where – Kosovo (The Balkans, Europe)
- Website – crdp-ks.org/en/
- Contact Person – Nora Ahmetaj
- Email – email@example.com
- Address – Str. Shaban Polluzha, No. 7, Prishtina, Kosovo
Areas of Expertise
Centre for Research, Documentation and Publication (CRDP) has expertise in a range of areas, including:
Main Aims and Objectives
CRDP advocates for transitional justice through the development of objective memory and the promotion of initiatives that normalize community and regional relationships.
The Center’s long term vision is to develop methods for Dealing with the Past that may be helpful in constructing a history of Kosovo that dispels the two opposing victim-only myths. In this effort, CRDP will be the central advocates of Dealing with the Past issues in Kosovo, including economic losses, and documentation and archives.
Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation
CRDP’s central priority involves an inclusive approach to families of war victims. From its establishment, CRDP was responsible for improving understanding of transitional justice in Kosovo and strengthening institutional capacities for implementing Article 2.5 of the Ahtisaari proposal. By involving local communities in Dealing with the Past (DwP) initiatives, CRDP are working to raise awareness on the various approaches to, and multi-dimensional character of, transitional justice.
On behalf of the Kosovo Women’s Network, CRDP is part of the Women in Black regional initiative for organizing the first regional Women’s Court – a feminist approach to justice, which is to be finalized by 2014.
CRDP is also involved in a two-year project, supported by the European Commission, of quantitative and qualitative research, which will serve as the basis for a Human Security Index for Kosovo and other countries of the region; a key next step in implementing the on-going project, “Cross-border citizen’s network for peace, inter-communal, reconciliation & human security.”
Dealing with the Past
Dealing with the Past’s three core values of peace, justice and truths, which help people forgive the past, do not rest easily together. Excessive concern with ensuring peace and security, and avoiding a return to violence, often come at the expense of truth and justice. After all, why should perpetrators reveal the full extent of their crimes if they will incriminate themselves for judicial punishment? It is possible to identify three “ideal” approaches for dealing with the past:
- Forget the past for the benefit of peace and security (sanctioned silence in the case of Kosovo).
- Find and prosecute the perpetrators in the pursuit of justice
- Acknowledge the suffering of the victims and record their stories so that their narrative may be known.
The past is not something fixed with an independent existence, a once-and-for-all set of events. The ‘past’ is the remembered past, and as such, it is something that is constructed and reproduced in a multitude of ways. In other words, what we refer to as the “past” is our historical memory a particular period of the past that is possible to hold.
From the perspective of conflict transformation, people can have too much of the “wrong” type of memory. With such memories the pain of the past never dies and the “ill” memories are reproduced and transferred from one generation to the next, into a future that has already been determined.
Dealing with the past is important, particularly for societies, like Kosovo, emerging out of conflicts with legacies of human rights abuses. It is vital that Kosovo society manages to come to terms with their losses and is able to move forward to seek peace and justice.
Where and with Whom?
CRDP works with the following organizations throughout Kosovo:
- Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Turkey
- Institute for Regional and International Studies Bulgaria
- Youth Resource Centre Tuzla
- Association for Democratic Prosperity – Zid
- SeConS – Development Initiative Group Serbia
- Human Rights Defence Centre (KEPAD) Athens/ Greece
- Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens (AEC) Paris France
- Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR)
Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation
Work with Families of Victims and Missing Persons
Throughout the countries of the former Yugoslavia, international law mandates prosecutions for crimes against humanity and genocide. These mandates are also meant to protect rights to truth and justice, combat impunity and provide restitution for the victims of war crimes. However, the tribunals that deal with these violations do not address the full range of crimes that were committed during the war in Kosovo, or the multiple ways that war can impact individuals and communities. Underlying each of the transitional justice activities that CRDP pursues is a commitment to uphold the rights of the victims and contribute to the holistic principles of transitional justice. An important conceptual framework for transitional justice conceives of victim’s rights as the right to know, the right to justice, the right to reparation and the right to non-recurrence. Through the process of researching and documenting Kosovo’s legacy of human rights violations, CRDP specifically enforces the right to know. CRDP has also expanded its commitment to the victims of war by engaging in other activities including truth commissions, monitoring human rights and facilitating discussions about the past with women’s groups, ethnic minorities and victims associations. Through direct engagements with these groups we have achieved a greater awareness of victim’s needs and concerns.
Coalition for RECOM
In 2010 CRDP joined the Coalition for RECOM, a regional group of civil society organizations and individuals who support the proposal for a regional truth commission RECOM.
RECOM is an initiative concerned with compiling a list of human losses and establishing the gross violations of human rights committed during the wars of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001.
Since its inception, CRDP have been closely engaged in RECOM activities. As a leading coalition member in Kosovo, CRDP has been responsible for organizing national consultations with civil society stakeholders and victims associations throughout various municipalities in Kosovo. These consultations facilitated inter-ethnic dialogue and allowed members of the public to contribute their own ideas about how to effectively deal with the past in Kosovo. When the coalition for RECOM launched a public relations campaign for the collection of one million signatures, CRDP advocated for support and were credited, along with other local organizations, for Kosovo’s successful campaign results. RECOM has now entered a new stage in which coalition members, like CRDP, are following up with parliament members to advance the goals of the project and support creation of the commission in the near future.
CRDP’s involvement with RECOM reflects its commitment to establishing facts about the past and upholding the victim’s fundamental rights to truth and justice.
Calculating Economic Losses
One of the cardinal priorities for CRDP is to research, publish and archive comprehensive data on economic losses that resulted from the war in Kosovo. Following the war there were several initiatives to establish facts about the violent conflict, yet no study has been performed which has allowed the public to understand the full magnitude of the damage. It is crucial that an inclusive calculation of all direct and indirect costs is completed and documented for the historical record. CRDP’s work on economic losses involves not only an assessment of the damage, but also an analysis of the political and cultural dimensions of economic destruction. CRDP will begin with a damage assessment of physical loss, later delving into the nuanced ways in which markets, income, pensions, inflation and other economic factors were changed by events prior to the war, during the war itself and in the post-conflict reconstruction phase. The initial study represents the first stage in what will be a series of CRDP research projects investigating the economic devastation Kosovo experienced during the war. The rippling consequences of violent conflict may be viewed from many different angles, as it affects not only the welfare and security of today’s citizens, but also future generations who may suffer from the long term impact of these losses.
Dealing with the Past Newsletters
The CRDP co-launches newsletters on Dealing with the Past in Kosovo, with Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD), an association of German peace movement and non-profit organizations as well as individuals working for conflict transformation by non-violent means. Made in KS newsletter informs about process of dealing with and learning from the past in Kosovo. It aims to cover ongoing initiatives sourcing from the society: important events, new ideas, and in addition experiences from other areas in the region and the world as well as stories of people’s experiences.