BALKANS: MUIZINIEKS (COE), "JUSTICE AS REQUIREMENT FOR RECONCILIATION"” “

(SIR Europe – Strasburg) – "The consequences of violence are still hovering over the whole Balkan region though over 20 years have gone from the war leading to the dissolution of Yugoslavia", said Nils Muižnieks, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. "12,200 people are still missing; 423,000 refugees and evacuees cannot go back to their houses, yet; about 20 thousand people are left with no State risking statelessness and – says the Commissioner – at least 20 thousand women are victims of sex violence in wartime, still needing psychological support". "All that – said the high European officer – combined with war crime impunity, hinders reconciliation and endangers full enjoyment of human rights, democracy and the rule of law". A fundamental requirement for reconciliation is "doing justice", points out Muižnieks, "not just to make sure those who committed violations will pay for them, but also to shelter and support all the people suffering". It is fundamental to strengthen national judicial systems, "including witness protection systems", says the Commissioner, recalling that an amnesty "is not acceptable", as stated by the Council of Europe and the Court of Human Rights.” “

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