Policy Engagement


On 10 November 2023, Dr Denisa Kostovicova and Dr Luke Cooper submitted evidence to the House of Lords European Affairs Committee, for its inquiry Implications of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine for UK-EU Relations. The evidence was titled, Reconstruction of Ukraine: Priorities, Approaches and Recommendations through the lens of the Western Balkans

On 31 January 2024, House of Lords European Affairs Committee published the report, ‘The Ukraine Effect: The Impact of Russia’s invasion on the UK-EU Relationship’, citing Dr Kostovicova’s and Dr Cooper’s evidence submitted to the parliamentary enquiry. Dr Kostovicova in particular referred to the JUSTIN’s research on the role of women in shaping transitional justice policy-making in relation to violence committed during Russia’s war on Ukraine.



Dr Sanja Vico participates in a high-level conference "Digitalization and Democracy in the Western Balkans" organised by the Aspen Institute Germany in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro. 

Date: 12 December 2023
City: Podgorica
Organised: Aspen Institute Germany and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
Speaker: Dr Sanja Vico 

The conference explored how democratic values can be strengthened in the digital space, focusing on two topics: combating disinformation and hate speech, and cyber resilience, with a focus on challenges and opportunities of digitalization in the Western Balkans. Dr Sanja Vico contributed to the session on "Digitalization as Part of the Democratization Process," which has addressed some of the following questions: What approaches could shape a positive interplay between democracy and digitization? How has digitalization influenced the democratization efforts in the Western Balkans, and what role does it play in promoting political transparency and accountability? How has digitalization impacted the electoral process in the Western Balkans?

JUSTINT research team organised a one-day knowledge exchange workshop with members of civil society organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo  

Date: 6 June 2023
City: Zagreb, Croatia
Organiser: JUSTINT Research Project Team 

Members of the JUSTINT research team Ivor Sokolić, Sanja Vico and Denisa Kostovicova organised a one-day knowledge exchange workshop with members of civil society organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo. Members of local and international civil society organisations (CSOs) who attended the workshop conduct a range of activities within communities and across ethnic lines in fragile post-conflict contexts. Some of these CSOs work directly with transitional justice issues, ranging from being directly engaged in activities related to dealing with the violent past to running of youth centres that provide space for inter-group interactions.  During the workshop, the practitioners discussed the challenges they faced in their work in their local environments, they brainstormed how the research findings on inter- and intra-ethnic dialogues can inform practice, and learned from each other through an exchange of ideas and experiences about the challenges and benefits of inter- and intra-group dialogues about past violence for peacebuilding. These exchanges informed the JUSTINT Policy Paper ‘Inter- and intra-ethnic dialogues on war-time violence and its legacies’ presenting recommendations for practitioners, available here.

Dr Denisa Kostovicova provides evidence to Ms Kravchuk, MP UKR, Rapporteur for a report on Women, Justice and Reconciliation for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe  

Date: 27 April 2022 
City: On-line 
Organiser: The Council of Europe 
Speaker: Dr Denisa Kostovicova   

Dr Denisa Kostovicova contributed to the Round Table on Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation in the South Eastern Europe, on 21 May 2021. The event was organised in theframework of the preparation of a report on Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation by Ms Yevheniia Kravchuk (Ukraine, ALDE), Rapporteur of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Dr Kostovicova's evidence on transitional justice and reconciliation, including preliminary findings of research conducted as a part of the ERC-funded JUSTINT research programme was cited in the report ‘Justice and security for women in peace reconciliation’, published by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 27 April 2022.  

JUSTINT Knowledge Exchange with Practitioners: War Crimes, Inter-ethnic Contact and Peace-building in the Balkans 

Date: 25 May 2022
City: London, London School of Economics and Political Science
Organiser: Dr Denisa Kostovicova 
Speakers: Dr Denisa Kostovicova, Dr Tolga Sinmazdemir, Dr Sanja Vico  

Dr Denisa Kostovicova, Dr Tolga Sinmazdemic and Dr Sanja Vico engaged with practitioners of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and others including the representatives of the academic community and experts working on the Balkans. They presented the findings of the JUSTINT’s survey on inter-ethnic contact in the Balkans and discussed implications for peace-building.  


Reconciliation, Deliberation and Justice: The Evidence from the Quantitative Analysis of Discourse in the Post-conflict Balkans 

Date: 23 May 2022
City: Stockholm, Sweden (online) 
Organiser: Folke Bernadotte Academy 
Speaker: Dr Denisa Kostovicova  

Dr Denisa Kostovicova gave a lecture to the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the Swedish government agency for peace, security and development. The audience comprised of members of the Academy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and others. Dr Kostovicova addressed the challenges of assessing effects of various transitional justice instruments on peace-building and reconciliation and evaluated the role of different domestic and international actors involved in these processes. She also discussed the role of methodological innovation in producing evidence and identifying new spaces for policy intervention in transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction. Lastly, Dr Kostovicova discussed the EU’s approach to reconciliation in the post-conflict Balkans, and the need to draw lessons from the Balkans for other post-conflict zones.

Regional Conference "Youth in the Western Balkans - (self) excluded" 

Date: 19 May 2022 
City: Podgorica 
Organiser: Center for Civic Education (CCE) in cooperation with TACSO Office for the Western Balkans and Turkey with the support of the European Union 
Speaker: Venera Cocaj 

Venera Cocaj was an invited speaker for the session dedicated to human rights issues and youth in the western Balkans. Her arguments were focused on why Balkan youth needs to be actively engaged in transitional justice processes, and the current institutional challenges across the region regarding youth contribution to the reconciliation politics. She addressed a gathering of civil society activists, national government representatives and the representatives of the European Union. 

AHRC Research Network: United Nations Television in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Date: 19 May 2021
City: London
Organiser: The Imperial War Museum
Speaker: Dr Ivor Sokolić

Ivor Sokolić took part in a first-person narrative on video: testimony, uses and afterlife. Organized by the Imperial War Museum on their project “AHRC Research Network: United Nations Television in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina”. The title of the presentation was: UNTV today and tomorrow: How to evaluate its current and future benefits? Dr Sokolic spoke about how we can evaluate the impact of projects like UNTV on interethnic relations and post-conflict peace processes. 

‘Talking about Dialogue: Women’s Influence in Transitional Justice and Peace-Making, Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)

Date:  15 April 2021
City: The Hague
Organiser: The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)
Speaker: Dr Denisa Kostovicova 

The JUSTINT team presented research by Denisa Kostovicova, Tolga Sinmazdemir, Lanabi la Lova and Vesna Popovski on women’s participation in transitional justice debates in parliaments at a session organised by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and their global network of partners. A representative from Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) from Uganda, that works with women political leaders to support them to effectively influence political decision-making, reflected on implications for practice of the JUSTINT team’s research and its insights. These insights informed ideas on how to support women to gain more influence in political dialogues and politics, and on developing an understanding of the notion of feminist leadership. The meeting was attended by NIMD’s partners from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Guatemala, Colombia, Myanmar, and others.

Supporting Reconciliation Processes in the Western Balkans

Date: 18-19 March 2021 
City: Berlin 
Organiser: Aspen Institute Germany 
Speaker: Dr Ivor Sokolić 

Ivor Sokolić took part in the closed-door workshop with experts and practitioners from the Western Balkans who discussed key considerations for the reconciliation process in the region and elaborated practical policy recommendations on how the process can be further supported. He provided his input based on the project’s research into transitional justice and reconciliation. The workshop was followed by a closed-door discussion, designed to offer an opportunity for exchange between experts from the Western Balkans and officials from the EU, selected member states, and other European countries on how to join forces to best support reconciliation in the region. The aim of the meeting was to jointly discuss practical policy recommendations and how the international community can effectively support reconciliation processes in the region.

12th International Forum on Transitional Justice in Post-Yugoslav Countries: "Making Victims Live in the Memory of Society"

Date: 16 December 2019
City: Zagreb
Organiser: Coalition for RECOM
Speaker: Venera Cocaj

Venera Cocaj addressed a gathering of civil society activists, victims, national government representatives and representatives of the European Union, and discussed justice for victims of war crimes.