EU support to Confidence Building in the Western Balkans

 

Summary

The regional project „EU support to the Confidence Building in the Western Balkans” is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project started on 1 January 2023 and will last four years. The Project will provide expertise and support to the judicial and law enforcement authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo  in handling war crimes cases at the domestic level, improve the conditions for regional (cross-jurisdictional/cross-boundary) cooperation in processing these cases, enhance the delivery of support services to victims and witnesses and strengthen the capacity of relevant actors in victim support, which would enhance efficient and effective victim-centered and human rights-based domestic handling of war crimes.

The project will better equip grassroots actors to raise public awareness of past crimes, including dialogue and exchanges amongst a wide range of stakeholders, especially youth and future opinion leaders to contribute to a better understanding of the crimes committed during the 1990s conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia. The project will effectively mainstream gender, by systematically including gender perspective and gender responsive justice and rights-based services in design and implementation of activities and policies.

Background

The region of the Western Balkans continues to deal with unresolved issues and legacies of the conflicts in the 1990s. Transitional justice and reconciliation remain uncompleted, with politics and inter-ethnic tensions continuing to impact domestic and regional relations. A significant number of war crimes cases have remained unprocessed or blocked, with most of them requiring regional co-operation.  Together with almost 10,000 persons still missing because of the conflict, this creates an impunity gap leaving victims and societies in grievances, anxiety, and division. Many victims need access to justice without re-traumatization, to be able to provide crucial testimonies, and/or to social services and reparations. This particularly reflects on victims of gender-based, conflict-related sexual violence crimes.

 

The public, especially young people, is largely unfamiliar with findings about crimes committed in the nineties, and the perception of the recent past and justice is marked with increasing voices of denial and revisionism, antagonistic ethnic-based narratives, and perceptions. These all create an environment of polarization and division that is not conducive for reconciliation and good neighbourly relations. Understanding the legacy of the conflicts of the past and bringing justice to all victims of the conflicts are expected to contribute to societal cohesion and resilience.

 

Project Outcome

 

Outcome 1: Performance of Beneficiaries’ rule of law institutions improved regarding handling of war crimes cases and provision of support and services to victims of war crimes, especially victims of conflict related sexual and gender-based crimes

 

  • Output 1: Western Balkans judicial authorities are better equipped to handle war crimes

  • Output 2: Improved conditions for regional cooperation on war crimes

  • Output 3: Increased delivery of support services to  victims and witnesses of war crimes and stronger capacity of relevant actors

Outcome 2: Good neighbourly relations improved through enhanced participation and increased voice of civil society stakeholders in the discourses related to the 1990s conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia

 

  • Output 4: Grassroots actors better equipped to raise public awareness and foster mutual understanding through fact-based dialogues about crimes committed during the 1990s conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia

 

*For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UNDP, all references to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of the Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).


Project factsheet is available for download here.


Impact

START DATE

December 2022

END DATE

December 2026

STATUS

Ongoing

PROJECT OFFICE
IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

United Nations Development Programme

DONORS

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

$1,836,891

DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS

2022$0

2023$1,778,811

Full Project information