Status of wartime rape victims

Posted on

Many women raped in Kosovo during the war want to be treated under the same law as the victims of war.

A Kosovar Civil Society Report to the United Nations declared that there are approximately 20,000 women were raped in Kosovo during the war and continue to face disastrous psychological and social effects. As a result, Vetevendosje proposed that the women raped during the war should be treated as victims of war, legally. This proposal was supported by 33 deputies, and rejected by 29.

The proposal to amend the law of veterans has triggered controversy, mainly by deputes in the opposition. On the other hand, it had offended the women, states KRCT, an organization that deals with these treatment. Moreover, Linda Gucia, sociologist and a part of this organization, said that after talking in person with the victims they feel offended by the neglect of deputes towards the seriousness of this issue.

Blerta Veliu, PDK deputy, was one of the deputies that rejected the proposal. Answering the question why she voted against she said: “From the region I come from, Drenica, is the place where most of the abuses took place. There is not any deputy that would vote against a law for the abused women because it would be immoral. The reason why I voted against is that what happened to these women differs from any war crime in Kosovo; therefore, they should be treated separately and a new law especially for them should be created.”

Alma Lama, MP of Vetevendosje, said that according to Kosovar Civil Society these women wanted explicitly not to be treated separately from other the victims of war. “It is the category that suffered the most; it is a crime against the human beings, but mostly these women suffer from our own society because they are stigmatized and humiliated.”

Sami Kurteshi, Ombudsperson of Kosovo, when asked whether Kosovar society is ready to treat these women the way they should be and not be stigmatized, said: “This society is not ready for a lot of issues. But one of the major problems is that we are not ready to face the truth.”

In regards to the budget for these women, whereas veterans are entitled to money from the state, the women raped during the war are not. Blerta Veliu says that there is no firm decision on the budget, but assures that these women will get money. Moreover, she says that “since there is no decision on the budget we cannot promise these women a new law because we are doing a second crime – lying to them.”

Regarding the stigmatization and trivialization of this issue Linda Gucia added: “the proposal for this law firstly went to the health commission and then to the financial commission, which trivialized this issue even more. This issue is a matter of security, and should be addressed to the law and security commission.”