Osmani before the Security Council demands justice for the survivors of sexual violence during the war

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani stated that the Milosevic regime used the act of sexual violence as a means of intimidation and demoralization. Osmani said that the war in Kosovo is a testament of values, but also proof of commitment that the horrors of war can never tarnish human dignity. In her address to the highest decision-making roundtable in the world, the president quoted a statement of a victim of sexual violence from Kosovo, as she confessed about the terrible torture of the Serbian forces. In the special meeting of the ‘Arria format’ of the Security Council, Osmani also mentioned Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman, the first woman who spoke publicly about the macabre act.

She stated in a virtual address that every time she meets a survivor of sexual violence, she understands the level of pain and the transformative power of their endurance. Osmani added that victims of sexual violence choose to thrive and fight for justice.

“During 1998-1999 Kosovo was a target of a brutal and a genocidal war committed by the Milosevic regime. Amidst the deafening sounds of artillery and the painful silence of the aftermath of the war, emerged the staggering reality thousands of survivors of sexual violence in war. It is therefore that today, as I address all of you, I feel great responsibility and carry a heavy burden on my shoulders while striving to do justice to these everyday heroes who live with an everlasting and excruciating pain, and as I fervently plead for such acts of horror to never, ever be repeated again. Conflict related sexual violence has persisted for too long in the trajectory of human history. It strikes at the very heart of humanity. It transcends borders, and it has turned into one of the most pressing global issues that demand our immediate attention. It is therefore our collective responsibility to act decisively, to act smartly and to deliver. In my job, but also ever since I engaged in politics, I must admit that the meetings that leave an ever-lasting impact are the meetings with the survivors of sexual violence in war”, she said.

Osmani also shared a statement of a survivor, who confessed about the macabre act of sexual violence by Serbian forces.

Further, the president stated that she is always amazed when she sees the unwavering determination of survivors to refuse to be defined by the past.

” After the war in Kosovo, so many heroine cases of conflict related sexual violence came to light. Those helped us with shedding light on the brutal tactics employed by Milosevic’s regime. Numerous reports documented widespread rapes and sexual torture. Such appalling acts of sexual violence were used as tools of intimidation and demoralization, but equally so as tools of ethnic cleansing and genocide, aiming to drive the Kosovo population out of their homes. In Kosovo with every passing year, we witnessed the extraordinary resilience and determination of Kosovo women and men who refuse to be silenced by the wars they endured. Their fight against stigma and their quest for justice are exemplary”, said Osmani.

In the meeting on “Prevention and response to sexual violence caused by conflicts”, the president of Kosovo also mentioned the first woman who confessed publicly about the horror she experienced. She said that Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman has become a symbol of the quest for justice.

The use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, Osmani said, is a deliberate attempt to strip individuals of their dignity, hope, but also their identity.

About 20 thousand women and men from Kosovo were sexually abused during the last war in Kosovo. For this crime, local courts have sentenced only one person to ten years in prison.