The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) Kosovo was established in Prishtinë in May 1997, by a well-known human rights activist Mrs. Nataša Kandić, as a branch office of the Humanitarian Law Center.
The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLC Kosovo) is operating as an independent organization since April 2011. The HLC Kosovo continuously contributes to Kosovo’s ability to establish the rule of law and implement transitional justice mechanisms, in order to develop a just society that faces the past and respects rights of each citizen.
The HLC Kosovo is working to document facts that will assist Kosovo society to deal with its violent past. The organization seeks to counter denial and political manipulation of human losses, and ensure the integrity and transparency of war crimes trials.
Until the outbreak of hostilities between Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army in February 1998, the HLC Kosovo focused on documenting police repression of Kosovo Albanians, investigating cases of torture, illegal detention, mass invitations of Albanians for ‘informative talks’, and political trials. After the conflict began, the HLC Kosovo shifted its focus to documenting killings and disappearances of Kosovo Albanians as well as disappearances of Serbs and members of other ethnic groups. When NATO intervened in 1999, HLC moved its office to Montenegro, where it continued its documentation work among the Kosovo Albanians whom Serbian security forces had expelled from Kosovo. Following the June 1999 peace agreement that ended the war, HLC Kosovo returned to Pristina and began documenting the atrocities that had been conducted by Serbian forces during the NATO intervention. After the establishment of the international administration in Kosovo in June 1999, the HLC Kosovo worked on publishing a report on the killings and disappearances of Albanians. It also investigated kidnappings, disappearances and murder of Serbs, Ashkalia, Bosniaks and Albanians.
HLC Kosovo will continue its efforts on monitoring the judicial procedures related to the consequences of the recent conflict. Specific focus will be put on the EU Mission in Kosovo’s Special Court which is expected to be operational during the course of 2015. Beside monitoring and reporting on trials, HLC Kosovo will actively involve in locating victims and their families and representing them in the courts in Kosovo and Serbia. The third essential element of the HLC Kosovo activities will be spreading the knowledge on transitional justice within professional and non-professional communities.
HLC Kosovo will implement its activities in the frame of two main programmes: ‘Transitional Justice’ and ‘Regional Cooperation’.