Building peace in Kosovo

Name: Nora Ahmetaj

Position today: Executive Director of the Centre for Research, Documentation and Publication in Kosovo

Country: Serbia & Montenegro/Kosovo

MPCT class: 2003-2005

Topic of Master’s thesis: "Peace Now" in Israel in Search of an Alternative Identity

In early November 2009, I was given the task of establishing the, Center for Research, Documentation and Publication (CRDP) by the distinguished members of NGOs engaged with the regional initiative for “Dealing with the Past” in Kosovo. We founded the Centre in 2010 with the main task of supporting local and regional initiatives in peace making and advancing interethnic relationship and perspectives. Our mission was to promote the mechanisms of transitional justice with the hope of normalizing local and regional relations and aid the people of Kosovo in addressing their history of human rights violations.  The strategy that we use to advocate transitional justice is based on a conceptual model for “Dealing with the Past” (DwP). The core values of this concept are a societies’ right to know, right to justice, right to reparations and guarantee of non-recurrence. 

I am also a member of the Regional Coordination Council of Coalition for Regional Truth Commission. As a member, I worked to address war crimes in Former Yugoslavia and specialized in human rights, transitional justice and development studies. As a leading member for RECOM in Kosovo, I am actively engaged in advocacy, launching truth commissions and in mediating consultations with victims’ associations.

We believe that individuals and ethnic groups are not condemned to suffer from fear forever, but they do find the ability to overcome it and develop a sense of hope for common life.

Since the very beginning, I have had my fears and doubts that this is not an achievable goal. I wondered if Kosovo society and victims in particular were ready to talk about the past. Even today I am still not 100% convinced because of the polarization of the Kosovo population that still pervades society. The anger is still prevalent, and the collective memory of cultural groups has yet to forgive and forget the experience of sacrifice, humiliation, violence, victim-hood and traumas.

Peace and Conflict studies should focus more (from a normative point of view) on stressing the concept of transitional justice or deconstructing the four pillars of “Dealing with the Past” (right to know, right to justice, right to reparations and right to non-resonance).