On the occasion of 24 March – International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) appealed the decision-makers and competent institutions to show utmost devotion and investigate the fates of persons who went missing during the wars of nineties, determine the facts related to period of post-Yugoslav wars and produce tangible results in punishing those responsible for war crimes. Once these three essential conditions are met, we can talk about the establishment of justice and reconciliation in region of former Yugoslavia.
Work of civil society organisations sparked the debate in Montenegro on the importance of need to face the past, but also improve the functionality of existing mechanisms – primarily of judiciary which has to process war crimes, and establish new mechanisms such as RECOM (Regional Commission Tasked with Establishing the Facts about All Victims of War Crimes and Other Serious Human Rights Violations Committed on the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia). RECOM aims to make a list of casualties, murdered, incarcerated, tortured and persecuted persons from all wars that took place on the territory of former Yugoslavia based on testimonies and documents. Decision-makers should not question the institutionalisation of this body since it would only complement the work of judicial and prosecutorial structures and provide an enormous contribution in clarifying all war crime cases.
Regardless of victims and perpetrators, war crimes must never be forgotten. Post-Yugoslav societies have to persevere in the establishment of transitional justice and restore the dignity to victims and their families, since this is necessary in order to establish a sustainable peace and interethnic conformity in region. Hence, CCE will continue conducting the activities towards the establishment of culture of remembrance, whether as an independent organisation or as a referent organisation of Coalition for RECOM, so that war atrocities and victims of war crimes are never forgotten. Simultaneously, it will continue insisting that competent institutions disclose full truth on war events and adequately process the ones responsible for the crimes they committed.
International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims was constituted by the UN General Assembly as a day to remember Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, famous human rights advocate, who was murdered on 24 March 1980 due to harsh condemnation of violations of human rights of most vulnerable populations, by defending the principles of protection of right to life, promotion of human dignity and severe opposition to every form of violence. Purpose of this day is to indicate on respect and remembrance of victims of severe and systematic violations of human rights as well as to promote the importance of right to truth and justice.
Tamara Milaš, CCE Programme associate and Spokesperson of Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro