Women victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence in Kosovo demonstrated courage in speaking of the abuses they suffered. The international community should respond to their willingness to speak with an effort to assist the women in pursuing justice, recovering from trauma, and rebuilding their lives. Particularly, Human Rights Watch makes the following recommendations:
To the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY):
* Conduct a diligent and independent investigation into the incidence and use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women in Kosovo;.
* Take steps to ensure that those alleged to have committed rape or other forms of sexual violence during the conflict in Kosovo, and those in positions of political or command authority who are alleged to have acquiesced in such abuse, are indicted, taken into custody, prosecuted, and brought to justice by the ICTY.
* Ensure that gender-integrated teams investigating rape and other forms of sexual violence have competence in investigating rape and conducting interviews with rape victims. As the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) moves to make the investigation and prosecution of rape and other forms of sexual violence a normal part of OTP procedure, efforts to enhance and develop staff expertise necessary for rape investigations and prosecutions should increase. Whenever possible, interviews of rape victims should be conducted by female investigators with training in rape investigations.
* Include examinations for evidence of rape in autopsies of female bodies conducted by ICTY forensic teams.
* Ensure that all witnesses are protected now and subsequently from possible reprisals.
To the United Nations:
* Establish a specialist unit within the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights with a mission to develop expertise on the investigation of rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and the treatment of such victims. The unit would develop protocols for responding to rape in conflict, maintain a database of experts in the fields of investigation and trauma counseling, and monitor inclusion of rape and other forms of sexual violence in cases brought before tribunals and truth commissions internationally.
* Develop programs through the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to assist women victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence and trauma in accessing job training programs, micro-credit programs, and psychological counseling programs in Kosovo.
To the Yugoslav Government:
* Cooperate with the ICTY by locating and arresting any person under indictment by the ICTY.
* Recognize the right of the ICTY to investigate all war crimes committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, including the area of Kosovo, as stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 827 (1993) and repeatedly reaffirmed with particular reference to the Kosovo crisis in U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1160, 1199, and 1207.
* Hand over individuals already indicted for war crimes who are residing on the territory of Serbia and/or Montenegro.
To the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR):
* Arrest without delay all persons present in Kosovo who have been or will be indicted by the ICTY for war crimes committed in Kosovo.