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The coalition of groups working to establish a fact-finding commission into the Yugoslav wars, known as RECOM, amended its statute ahead of the hoped-for formation of the commission next year.

Sven Milekic  BIRN Zagreb

After holding its seventh assembly in Belgrade, the coalition of NGOs gathered under the umbrella “For RECOM” has amended its statute with a view to forming a future RECOM in 2015.

If it is finally established, RECOM will produce a report a definitive list of all those killed and missing along with a list of camps and other places of detention during the armed conflicts from 1991 to 2001 in former Yugoslavia.

The presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia are due to present their joint initiative to the public and to the various national parliaments by the end of January 2015.

The initiative to change the statute came from the envoys of the presidents of the republics of former Yugoslavia, which are overseeing the process of formation of RECOM in the names of their respective countries.

“The new version of the Statute will remove all existing doubts about RECOM being a judicial body,” the coalition said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

However, the country envoys held the stance that only state institutions and international courts should have the power to take repressive measures, not the RECOM commission.

A non-political regional coalition of civil society organisations and individuals has been campaigning for years for the creation of a commission tasked with establishing the facts about war crimes and human rights violations committed in former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2001.

The seventh assembly also made changes in future financing. According to the new proposed statute, RECOM will be financed from domestic and foreign donations and not from state budgets, since from the beginning the states have made it clear they do not want to be obliged to finance the commission.

In the end, the session supported the need to “establish the facts about war crimes and other gross human rights violations in armed conflicts from January 1 1991 to December 31 2001”. They also agreed that all established facts should be incorporated into the education systems in the region.