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Kosovo Focuses on Victims' Rights After Decades of Strife

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2012
3 pages
This paper reviews Kosovo's history in developing victim services for survivors of war crimes and victims of current criminal activities.
Just 1 month after declaring full independence, Kosovo authorities and the U.S. Embassy began a partnership with the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Developmental Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina (USAO-EDNC). Initial steps included needs assessment coupled with training and mentoring by the EDNC. This included investigative techniques, case development, advocacy, and plea bargaining, as well as victim issues and rights during the criminal justice process. A visit to the United States was coordinated for a Kosovar delegation. This included a visit to various Department of Justice (DOJ) agencies. The delegation met with the staff of the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC). Upon their return to Kosovo, the delegation hosted the country's first National Crime Victims' Rights Week in October 2010. From the beginning of its efforts to develop its criminal justice system, Kosovo officials have incorporated victims' issues into their system. In these efforts, technical assistance has been provided by the OVC. This has included a focus on victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. Of particular concern - given Kosovo's emergence from a brutal war filled with atrocities against its people - is the provision of support for the victims of this war.