Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo is following with concern the situation created after the statements of Mr. Shkelzen Gashi regarding the crimes committed during the last war in Kosovo.

In one of his public appearances, Mr. Gashi elaborated on the issue of war crimes and the importance of justice for all civilian victims of the recent war in Kosovo, regardless of ethnicity or any other personal identity, mentioning the alleged crimes that have been committed by individuals belonging to the Kosovo Liberation Army.

We, as an organization dedicated to promoting and empowering the process of transitional justice, call for this discussion to focus on the justice that must be done to the victims and survivors without distinction before, during and after the war in Kosovo. Justice must not be blinded by the ethnicity or religion of the victims and perpetrators of these crimes. Justice should be accessible to everyone.

Since we are on the eve of marking the National Day of Missing Persons, it is vital that the entire Kosovar society recognizes and remembers all the victims of the recent war in Kosovo. After about 20 years of silence, we must collectively demand from the Kosovo institutions the legal and moral responsibility they have to resolve the issue of missing persons, establish justice and stop the glorification of persons who have committed war crimes.

According to the Humanitarian Law Center in Kosovo, from January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2000, 10,093 civilians lost their lives and/or disappeared in Kosovo, of which 8,645 Albanians, 1,013 Serbs, 262 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian, 84 Bosniaks and 203 of other ethnicities.

We believe that our society will not be able to have lasting reconciliation and peace without bringing justice to all victims, survivors of sexual violence and missing persons from all ethnic communities and without addressing all other issues that are related to our recent past.