Serbia | Croatia | Montenegro | Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 2015, Rrustem Mustafa, known as “Remi”, was sentenced to four years in prison for war crimes by the Court of Appeal. Based on the ruling, Rrustem Mustafa was found guilty of war crimes due to the inhumane treatment of detained civilians and war crimes due to the beating and torture of detained civilians. Moreover, the Court of Appeals has confirmed the judgment of the first instance and has issued a final judgment for the accused.

As a national TV channel, KTV is widely viewed and has a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing the narrative regarding human rights and justice. Therefore, KTV and any other media must not give a platform to the voices of convicted war criminals. By doing so, the media could legitimize and normalize the actions of a convicted war criminal. 

This is particularly alarming given that Rrustem Mustafa was invited to speak about the ongoing war crimes trial being conducted by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. This further risks providing a platform for hate speech and further exacerbating inter-ethnic tensions that already exist in Kosovo. Furthermore, it risks creating a distorted narrative of the past, which digresses dealing with the past processes and is harmful to the civilian victims of the war. 

This decision by KTV is problematic for it also violates Principle 1 of the Dealing with the Past Principles. This principle clearly states that victims and survivors of the war must be treated with integrity and dignity. Inviting persons who have been sentenced for war crimes infringes the dignity of the victims and survivors. Every media platform, including KTV, must acknowledge victims’ suffering and treat them with respect and dignity. 

While freedom of expression and freedom of the media is a fundamental right, it must be used responsibly and ethically. Media organizations have the responsibility to ensure that their coverage is fair, impartial, responsible and sensitive to the victims and war criminals. By giving prime time space to a person convicted for war crimes, KTV has failed to meet this responsibility.

Therefore, we demand that KTV take public responsibility for these actions and issue a public apology to the victims and delete all the related content from its platforms. We also demand that other media do not give a platform to the voices of persons who have been convicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights violations. Justice cannot prevail as long as convicted war criminals are given public space to speak on issues regarding dealing with the past!

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