At a press conference held in Belgrade on 24 January 2014, the public advocates for the RECOM Initiative, Professor Žarko Puhovski, theatre producer Dino Mustafić, journalist Adriatik Kelmendi and RECOM project coordinator Nataša Kandić, appealed to all the post-Yugoslav countries to develop a culture of compassion, solidarity and respect for the victims of the wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

‘RECOM has succeeded in securing itself a position just one step away from becoming an inter-governmental body concerned with the issues of the past,’ said Žarko Puhovski, a professor from the University of Zagreb.

Nataša Kandić, the coordinator of the RECOM project, said that she was pleased with the level of political support obtained, thanks to which the RECOM Initiative has begun the process of transference from a civil to a political level.She recalled that RECOM’s Regional Expert Group, comprising the personal envoys of the presidents of states in the region, had been tasked with examining the RECOM Statute and passing an opinion on the proposed arrangements concerning the RECOM mandate.The Expert Group will complete its task in March 2014 and will inform the state presidents of its opinion and, in particular, of the constitutional possibilities for establishing RECOM.The Coalition for RECOM will give consideration to any amendments proposed by the Regional Expert Group and decide whether to accept them. The proposed RECOM Statute was adopted in March 2001.The preparations for the establishment of RECOM will follow next.

‘The RECOM Initiative is important for the environment I come from, because there is still room for manipulation,’ said Dino Mustafić, a theatre producer from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of RECOM’s chief tasks is to identify all the civilian and military victims from the wars in the former Yugoslavia and establish the circumstances in which they lost their lives.Another of RECOM’s tasks is to list all the camps which operated in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001.

A journalist from Kosovo, Adriatik Kelmendi, noted that 1,770 people from Kosovo were still listed as missing, and stressed the importance of the investigations aimed at establishing the facts connected with the war crimes and gross violations of human rights committed.

A press conference, held under the title, ‘Dealing with the past in post-Yugoslav countries: Why is RECOM important?’, was part of the public advocates’ activities designed to propagate the social and political need for establishing RECOM.