Kosovo’s national assembly has voted to offer benefits to sexual violence survivors from the 1998-99 Kosovo war. This decision comes after months of pressure from groups such as Campaign Advisory Committee Member Amnesty International.
Many view this step as the assembly’s first real attempt to address the widespread rape of ethnic Albanian women by Serb forces. Sexual violence survivors from the conflict will now be entitled to health, housing and employment benefits.
Kosovo’s Minister for Integration Vlora Citaku promised a change in legislation during a 2012 round-table on sexual violence survivors.
“There are around 20,000 raped women in Kosovo and yet no one has been punished [for these crimes]. There are around 20,000 raped women in Kosovo and yet we haven’t been able to address their legal needs. There are around 20,000 raped women in Kosovo who need medicine, care and help,” Citaku said.
Few investigations have been opened into war crimes of sexual violence in Kosovo. While new benefits for survivors offer hope, calls continue for an end to impunity for perpetrators.