PAX works with local civil society to bring citizens together to address challenges of common interest such as poor governance, a weak rule of law and the unresolved legacy of violent conflict.
Our Kosovo program focuses on two main areas:
PAX and partners work to promote informed public dialogue about the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, and advocate for a stronger institutional framework for dealing with the past more broadly. The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (the Kosovo Specialist Court) were established in 2015 to try war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) between 1998 and 2000.
Beyond providing a measure of justice to the victims and ending impunity, the Specialist Court could have a positive societal impact by encouraging other initiatives dealing with the ignored causes, drives and legacies of the conflict in Kosovo. However, the inhospitable social and political context in Kosovo means that the Specialist Court risks producing adverse effects as well, such as further polarizing intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic relations, undermining political stability, delaying the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
In 2017, PAX and partners reviewed the challenging process of Kosovo to develop a National Strategy for Transitional Justice and offered lessons learned and suggestions to crafting a more effective approach in the report Kosovo's Framework for Dealing With the Past at a Turning Point: Civil society review of progress toward a National Strategy on Transitional Justice (April 2017). After that national process was halted and the prospects for a future national Truth Commission remain uncertain, PAX and partners INTEGRA and New Social Initiative have been working on obtaining citizens’ perspectives with regards to their needs and priorities for ‘dealing with the past’ (DwP). This resulted in the research report Democratizing Transitional Justice in Kosovo: Towards a Deliberative Infrastructure for Dealing with the Past in Kosovo (May 2020). It proposes a four-step approach to realize an ‘Infrastructure for Dealing with the Past’. During the second phase of the project, more focus group sessions with diverse communities have been held to obtain more insights to specific needs and priorities as expressed by citizens, which created a citizen-informed framework for DwP. The strength of the project lies in the fact that it is owned and carried directly by a group of local civil society activists and experts, that can work completely bottom-up, strengthen each other and jointly lobby national politicians.
During the entire post-war period in the Western Balkans, the victims of war have only played a role in the margins. They have been largely left outside of the development of Transitional Justice (TJ) processes to deal with the wartime past(s). In this upcoming project, PAX, partners with the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), INTEGRA and New Social Initiative (NSI) from Kosovo, Peace Action from North Macedonia and Civic Initiatives from Serbia.
The consortium will work with victim groups in Kosovo, Serbia and North Macedonia to strengthen (institutional) capacities, improve the quality of their initiatives and projects, and create deeper relationships between diverse victim groups while also linking them with young activists and artists.
In partnership with UN-Habitat Kosovo and Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), PAX designed and delivers the Inclusive Development Programme. This innovative programme builds the planning and management capacities of seven municipalities in northern Kosovo while fostering effective civil society and citizen oversight and facilitating robust local-central dialogue and inter-municipal cooperation. PAX and CBM co-implement a range of activities improving local government responsiveness and accountability, in close coordination with the Mitrovica Regional Monitoring Team (MRMT), a multi-ethnic coalition of civil society organizations.
Under the IDP programme, PAX also works with New Social Initiative (NSI), an NGO from north Mitrovica, using e-platforms to increase citizen inclusion in local decision making and increasing transparent local governance.”