Kosovo Conflict Mapping II: 1999

From 28 May to 28 December 1999, NPWJ was the implementing partner for a wide scale Documentation Project run under the auspices of the International Crisis Group. The Project involved 46 expatriate staff and 123 local staff, in the largest non-governmental effort to-date to systematically document violations of the laws of war in a specific territory. The Project provided to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) a database containing over 4,700 statements from witnesses to and victims of acts in Kosovo potentially constituting serious violations of international humanitarian law. The International Crisis Group published a report entitled “Reality Demands” that draws upon an analysis of those statements and other information gathered by international legal staff through interviews with local and international sources.
 
The Project aimed to support the work of the ICTY by providing it with electronically organised information concerning the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law in Kosovo. This was intended to facilitate the identification of individual witnesses to be interviewed by ICTY investigators and assist in their reconstruction of events in Kosovo, including the patterns of violations of international law within the jurisdiction of the ICTY. The Project had three essential components: (1) the gathering of information from victims and witnesses; (2) the standardisation of all information gathered in a central uniform database; and (3) building the capacity of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals in developing their own investigative and research skills to document human rights and humanitarian law violations.
 
An initial assessment mission was undertaken by NPWJ to Tirana, Albania in late April 1999, and meetings held, among others, with representatives of the ICTY, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe, local Albanian Human Rights organisations and with the Prosecutor General of Albania. A funding application was made to ECHO by the International Crisis Group and NPWJ became the effective implementing organisation for the International Crisis Group. The Project had three distinct periods of operation: (a) its initiation and functioning in Albania, from 28 May 1999 to the first steps towards creating a second office in Kosovo itself, in mid July; (b) the establishment of the Kosovo office in Gjakova and initial conduct of field trips, from 16 July until 20 September; and (c) the closing of the Albania office and consolidation of all operations within Kosovo on 20 September, until the end of the Project on 28 December.
 
The resulting report, "Reality Demands", can be downloaded here.