The ‘Heroines’ memorial to Kosovo Albanian wartime rape survivors in Pristina. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ.

Thousands Apply for War Sexual Violence Victim Status in Kosovo as Govt is Asked to Extend Application Deadline

Thus far, 2,083 people have applied to obtain the status of a victim of sexual violence during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.

A total of  2,083 applications for the status of a victim of sexual violence during the Kosovo war have been submitted since the establishment in 2017 of the governmental Commission to Recognise and Verify Survivors of Sexual Violence during  1998-99 war. 

 Based on data reported, on Monday, by the Commission  to the Commission for Human Rights, Gender Equality, Missing Persons, Victims of War Sexual Violence, and Petitions, 1,650 applications have been accepted and 316 have been rejected.

Leonora Selmani, head of the Government Commission for the Recognition and Verification of the Status of Persons Raped during the War in Kosovo, explained that even though hundreds of applications were rejected, there is a chance that they could be approved in a second application.

“Each case has received proper treatment, especially those with requests,” she said, explaining that some “were reviewed six times”.

According to her, the greatest number of applications occurred in 2018, when there were 921.

In the first five months of 2024, 81 people have applied to obtain the status of a victim of sexual violence during the war. 

Selmani said that 40 cases are awaiting interviews, while another 50 are still unprocessed.

The status of a victim of sexual violence bestows official recognition of a victim’s suffering and makes them eligible for a monthly payment of 230 euros.

Both the parliamentary and governmental commissions called for increased awareness and emphasised that no victim should keep their case isolated, but should instead present themselves to the commissions to obtain the status to which they are entitled.

Both commissions asked to extend the application period for another two years, judging  it reasonable due to the rate of applications for obtaining victim status.  As of now, the deadline is set for May 2025.

Fatmire Mullhaxha-Kollçaku, a member of parliament from the ruling Vetëvendosje party, sent an official request  to the government commission to not have a final deadline for applications. 

“There will be no final deadline until the application process is completed. It is your responsibility to ensure that each case is thoroughly examined,” she said.

Selmani shared the same opinion, stating that this year the commission has more work because of the high number of applications during the first part of the year.

In 2014, the Kosovo Parliament approved the necessary legal changes so that  survivors of sexual violence during the war could be recognized with a proper status , enabling them to receive a legal pension amounting to around 230 euros per month.

In July 2021, the Basic Court in Prishtina pronounced the first sentence for the commission of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo.

Kosovo officials and civil society organisations dealing with survivors repeatedly cite an estimated statistic of more than 20,000 wartime rape victims from the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. 

03/06/2024 - 18:05

03 June 2024 - 18:05

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