New protocol for responding to sexual violence cases launched in Kosovo
The state Protocol for Treatment of Sexual Violence Cases in Kosovo was launched on 5 December as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign activities in Kosovo*. Under the “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds” Regional Programme on Ending Violence against Women, funded by the European Union, the UN Women Kosovo Office provided support in drafting this important document from its initial stages.
Drafted by the Ministry of Justice, jointly with the Institute of Forensic Medicine and with the UN Women Kosovo Office, in partnership with the Kosovo Women’s Network and in cooperation with European Union Rule of Law Mission, this document recognizes the need to have a standardized, continuous, comprehensive and accountable response for the identification, protection, treatment, empowerment and reintegration of victims/survivors of sexual assault and violence through immediate intervention by responsible institutions.
The launch event gathered leaders of these institutions as well as international organizations, civil society and relevant stakeholders to applaud this important document.
Speaking at the launch event, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, stated: “ I congratulate all who contributed in the drafting the Protocol, this sophisticated document, and hoping that its implementation will begin and give immediate results in the treatment of the victims and survivors of sexual violence, and for this I wish dedication and hard work in its best implementation.”
Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu stated that “maximum efforts have been made to prepare a concise document, written in clear and understandable language, which correctly outlines institutional responsibilities and obligations, divided into separate chapters but also the joint work under the coordinated multi-sectoral approach.”
“I congratulate the Ministry of Justice and the working group for this important step in combatting sexual violence, considering the fact that most victims of sexual violence are minors under the age of 18. This fact underlines even more the importance of this protocol,” said Vlora Nushi, Head of UN Women Kosovo.
The protocol will be applied regardless of whether sexual violence occurs in the context of violence in the family or outside the home. Institutional responsibility will be in accordance with the obligations and roles of each institution described in the legislation in force on sexual crimes and in all documents approved for the implementation of the legislation.
This document responds to the obligation to implement the Istanbul Convention. It is also aligned with national legislation as well as the National Strategy of Kosovo for Protection from Domestic Violence and Violence against Women 2022–2026, which was approved by the Government of Kosovo in January 2022.
*For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UN Women, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).