US Albanians, Bosnians and Croats rallied outside the Serbian consulate in New York City to demand that perpetrators of sexual violence during the 1990s Balkan wars be brought to justice.
Several dozen people joined the protest entitled ‘Rally for Her Justice’, organised by the Albanian American Woman’s Organisation with backing from US Bosnian and Croat groups, on Tuesday near the Serbian consulate in New York.
The organisers said they were calling on the Serbian authorities “to punish and prosecute the war criminals that may still be living in their country”.
Protesters carried Albanian, Bosnian, Kosovo and US flags and placards with slogans like “Serbian war crimes in Kosova unpunished”, “Rape is a war crime” and “A voice for the voiceless”.
There were also placards with references to United Nations Resolution 1820, which says that rape used as a weapon during wartime is a war crime, and Resolution 2467, which makes states responsible for any war crimes committed on their territories.
Among the speakers at the rally were Mark Gjonaj, an Albanian-American member of New York City council, and Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman, an outspoken survivor of rape during the Kosovo war.
Krasniqi-Goodman testified in May at the US House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee that Washington should do more to hold Serbia accountable for wartime crimes.
The organisers of the rally said that victims of conflict-related sexual violence “are invariably the most marginalised during and after conflict, experiencing long-term and sustained stigma, and enduring physical and mental harms”.
“To this date, only a handful of those who committed this type of war crime have been prosecuted or brought to justice,” they added.