Women between war Scylla and nationalist Charybdis: Legal interpretations of sexual violence in countries of former Yugoslavia
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Transitional justice has been treated as one of the pillars in the processes of post-conflict state building and sustainable peacebuilding in the former Yugoslav region. Gender dimensions of conflicts, especially sexually and gender based violations of justice, fall under the rubric of mainstreaming of gender justice in transitional justice. Transitional justice mechanisms may be viewed as adequate means to pursue gender justice. Therefore, in this chapter we will focus on the implementation of the Point 11 of UNSCR 1325 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo. By 2014, these four states, formerly involved in the armed conflicts, adopted National Strategic Documents for the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The implementation of UNSCR 1325 had been seen as a promising provision for women war violence survivors and was strongly advocated by grassroots women’s and feminist groups. It was believed that such a provision might bring justice and equal treatment to all women who suf...fered sexual and gender based violence during the wars, regardless of their ethnicity. However, as will be showcased by country cases, several years after the beginning of the implementation of National Strategic Documents the states lack consistent and collaborative measures to prevent impunity and offer redress to the survivors of gender related war injustices. Furthermore, it is our claim that the four successor states of Yugoslavia have not only failed to implement measures adequately, but that they have used those very mechanisms to promote a certain form of legal nationalism. We will demonstrate how gendered transitional justice has been nationally abused in post-Yugoslav societies, by showing how legal imagery, supposed to transform the lives of victims of war sexual violence, turned into the instrument for the re-introduction of nationalism. We rely on the analyses of the laws on civilian victims of wars or related measures, of the National Strategic Documents of each state, on reports of women’s grassroots and feminist groups and international institutions, as well as on recent media reports.
Keywords:sexual and gender based violence / legal nationalism / gender justice / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Serbia / Croatia / Kosovo
Source:Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice, 2017, 239-264
- Palgrave Macmillan