Investigating Sexual and Gender Based Violence

08 December 2016

EULEX Strengthening Division  has organized two day specialized workshop on investigation and forensic coordination of sexual and gender based crime offences on 6 and 7 December in Pristina. 

Martin Cunningham, the acting Head of Strengthening Division and Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Dhurata Hoxha, opened the event. They both focused on the importance of cooperation between all relevant actors in Kosovo, calling for a comprehensive approach in dealing with sexual and gender based violence.

The workshop was attended by the representatives of Kosovo Police, State Prosecutor Office, Kosovo Forensic Agency, Institute for Forensic Medicine. 

The Kosovo Forensic Agency (KFA) is currently, in cooperation with other law enforcement institutions in Kosovo, developing a new strategy to deal with sexual and gender based violence.

EULEX mission is committed to contribute to the development of the strategy and in achieving its objectives, as part of the working group that includes the other relevant stakeholders such as OSCE.

“We hope that this workshop will provide an opportunity to identify potential challenges and shortcomings in the current processes. Our aim is to improve the use of forensic investigative opportunities and to ultimately afford a better service to the victims, a key part of this is partnership working between the relevant Kosovo Agencies, explains Mark Dixon, EULEX Advisor to KP Deputy General Director Operations and organiser of the workshop.

The main objective of the workshop is to ensure the effective use of forensic investigative opportunities, especially in the domain of sexual and gender-based violence, with a particular focus on rape cases.

During the two day workshop the participants from the forensic partner agencies had the opportunity to work together on a series of real case studies, and to establish where coordination and cooperation between institutions is weak, where procedures and mechanisms are unclear or fail to guide action effectively and to identify how the use of forensic materials and how to optimise cooperation between the institutions.

“We believe that together with the establishment of a working group, this workshop will contribute to the implementation of some form of service level agreement between all agencies that will improve collaboration,” says Mark Dixon.

EULEX will continue to support local counterparts in developing a victims’ focused approach in forensic rape cases through its Mentoring, Monitoring and Advising (MMA) function.