Switzerland has long been involved in providing support for efforts to deal with the past and in particular to shed light on the many cases of missing persons relating to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, as well as to combat corruption and organised crime. The FDFA is financing 14 Swiss experts in the framework of the European Union’s Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo, which works in particular in the areas of dealing with the past, war crimes, witness protection, human rights and police training. The Swiss experts are mainly working in the EULEX War Crimes Investigation Unit.
Combating impunity is one of Switzerland’s priorities, and the Confederation has been particularly concerned with ensuring that the Ahtisaari plan includes the dimension of dealing with the past. Furthermore, Switzerland supports the Division of Forensic Medicine which operates under the joint supervision of Kosovo’s Ministry of Justice and EULEX to determine the fate of persons still missing.
As the Head of the FDFA, Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, made clear as early as 2008 that it is “of the utmost importance for the future of a political entity to be able to confront the painful events of the past and give the victims the feeling that justice will be done”. The main challenges facing the fledgling State of Kosovo are dealing with the past, protecting and promoting the rights of minorities, developing an effective and independent system of justice and combating corruption and organised crime. A successful future for Kosovo will only be possible on the basis of solid foundations in the rule of law, democracy and the protection of minorities.
The purpose of Switzerland’s commitment in Kosovo is to promote the rule of law, human rights and the protection of minorities, while fostering socio-economic development and contributing in this way to peace and stability in the region. In view of the close relations between Switzerland and Kosovo and the presence of a large Kosovar community in Switzerland, it is in Switzerland’s own interest to pursue this commitment.
Mrs. Calmy Rey was recently awarded the Prix Diaspora by the Kosovar community of Switzerland. In view of the publication of the Marty Report it has been decided that this is not a suitable time for the official presentation, which has therefore been postponed.
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