Victims of violence of post – Yugoslav war still without justice

Regarding the 22 February, International Day of Victims of Violence, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) appealed to decision-makers, especially to those from judicial and executive branch, to demonstrate far greater level of seriousness and responsibility in actions aimed to serve justice for every victim of wars of 90s, as well as to achieve more tangible results and sanction the ones responsible for war crimes in order to establish justice and reconciliation on the territory of former Yugoslavia.

After more than 20 years from wars in the region, 10.837 persons are still registered as missing, out of which 62 are from Montenegro. CCE, on the behalf of the Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro, requests that the integral part of regional cooperation includes the disclosure of locations of mass tombs, exhumation, identification and delivery of mortal remains to victims’ families, so that the minimal level of victim’s dignity could be acknowledged.

Also, CCE pointed out to concerning fact that all cases of prosecution of war crimes in Montenegro, either open or terminated, were the result of pressure from international and regional stakeholders and civil sector, not the proactivity of competent Montenegrin institutions. Hence, the latest ECC Report on Montenegro underlined the lack of specific results for further progress in the area of prosecution of war crimes.

In addition to poor results in the prosecution, investigation and sanctioning of war crimes, CCE estimates that it is necessary to use the formal education system to educate future generations on facts related to every crime from the past. Through its alternative forms of education, CCE has been highlighting for years the issues of transitional justice and facing the past, but in order to form a different and value framework, it is necessary to incorporate it in formal education policy.

All states and societies of region have not just moral, but legal, obligation to victims, and their families, to conduct an adequate investigation and shed some light on fates of missing persons, bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as the parties who commissioned those acts, and provide a continuous support to those who suffered the most. Largest regional coalition of non-governmental organisations – Coalition for RECOM, has been vocal about this issue as well, and it has been exerting continuous pressure on politicians to establish a regional mechanism which will meet all of these needs, and implementing different activities to communicate with citizens in region. In that sense, Coalition for RECOM published a Collection of all texts from the Forum for transitional justice last year, which contains testimonials of victims, participants of IX and X forum for transitional justice from post-Yugoslav states (available at

Commemoration of Day of Victims of Violence was initiated by the Swedish Association for Victim Support in 1989, with the aim to render the suffering of victims of crime more visible to general public and motivate the society to take a more efficient and active approach in the protection of rights of victims. European forum of services for aid to victims adopted a decision in 2001 to declare 22 February as the International Day of Victims.

Tamara Milaš, CCE programme associate and spokesperson of Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro