The RECOM Process began with a debate in May 2006 on the instruments necessary for the discovery and telling of the truth about the past, at the First Regional Forum on Transitional Justice organized by the Humanitarian Law Center (Serbia), the Research and Documentation Center (BiH), and Documenta (Croatia).The participants, who were representatives of non-governmental organizations and associations of families of missing persons and victims from post-Yugoslav countries, gave priority to a regional approach in dealing with the past.
In the period between May 2006 and 26 March 2011, the Coalition for RECOM organized a comprehensive social debate (consultative process) on the RECOM mandate.The process saw the participation of 6,700 representatives of civil society, including human rights organizations, victims, families of victims and the missing, refugees, veterans/defenders, former detainees, lawyers, artists, writers, journalists, and other distinguished individuals. A total of 128 local and regional summits and eight international forums on transitional justice were held. The opinions presented were incorporated in the Proposed RECOM Statute, adopted on 26 March 2011 by the Assembly of the Coalition for RECOM.
After the consultative process, the second phase of the process started – the institutionalization of the RECOM Initiative. This phase represents the transfer of the RECOM Initiative from the level of civil society to the political level – the domain of institutions. To obtain public support for the establishment of RECOM, the Coalition organized a petition for the establishment of RECOM in May and June 2011 which was signed by 555,000 citizens from all post-Yugoslav countries. A Public Advocacy Team was formed and the RECOM for the Future action launched. The advocacy resulted in the decision of the Presidents and the Presidency of BiH to appoint Personal Envoys for RECOM. The Personal Envoys were assigned to analyse the RECOM Statute proposed by the Coalition for RECOM, and to examine the constitutional and legal possibilities for the establishment of RECOM in each individual country.
On 28 October 2014, the Personal Envoys for RECOM submitted the Amendments to the RECOM Statute as aan agreed document that represents the legal framework for the establishment of RECOM. These amendments were unanimously supported by the Coalition for RECOM at the Assembly Session held on 14 November 2014. In the meantime, however, elections were held in BiH and new Members of the BiH Presidency were elected; and a new president was elected in Croatia. Thus, in the first half of 2015 the Coalition for RECOM found itself in the situation of having to seek the support for the establishment of RECOM again. So far, support has been confirmed by the Presidents of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia, and the Bosniak Member of the BiH Presidency. They have also supported the strategy of the Coalition for RECOM to consider the issue of establishing RECOM within the framework of the Berlin Process. Over a period of just a few days in May 2017, 50,000 citizens of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Pristina, Zagreb, and Belgrade signed a petition for the agreement of the leaders of post-Yugoslav countries on the establishment of RECOM within the framework of the Berlin Process. The Declaration by the Chair of the Trieste Summit on 12 July 2017 highlighted the recommendation of the Civil Society Forum for the establishment of RECOM as a joint effort of the London Summit participants. In connection with the London Summit to be held on 10 July 2018, the Coalition for RECOM called on the Prime Ministers of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia to sign the Declaration on the Establishment of RECOM and invite the remaining post-Yugoslav countries to join in the common task – the creation of a list of human losses in the wars of the 1990s.
The history of the RECOM process
- stepping up the process of documenting war crimes by increasing the number of investigators and analysts teams, involving academic institutions in the investigation work, expanding the existing databases, and drawing more public attention to the victims’ perspective;
- strengthening the network for reconciliation and transitional justice in the 2020-2023 period, by including in its activities at least 100 organisations in local communities, and
- providing expert support to youth organisations in their opposition to untrue depictions of facts established by the courts, false historiography and the production of “national truths”.