Justice system in Kosovo faces many problems

Justice system in Kosovo faces many problems

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, April 10, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Situation concerning the rule of law in Kosovo will continue to be problematic for as long as courts in the country tolerate technical violations, which, although they are avoidable, they show the lack of a readiness for concrete action for the improvement of the general situation, reads the annual report of the monitoring of the justice system in Kosovo, published by the Balkan Investigative Research Network and Internews Kosovo.

Furtuna Sheremeti, author of the report, said during the presentation of the findings,  that there are still technical violations in the courts of the country.

“Court sessions are still held in the judges’ offices. The reasons for this are many. It’s not always the fault of judges. There are different reasons such as the lack of heating sometimes”, she said.

Heads of justice institutions agree with the findings. They even see the report as a guideline for their work, which should be read by everyone, especially by those who are experts in the justice system.

Minister of Justice, Hajredin Kuci, besides praising the report, also recommended for everyone who belongs to this domain to read it.

“The report must be read by each of us. Great attention must be given to the implementation of the laws and this should be the primary duty of all institutions that directly or indirectly handle the strengthening of the legal system”, declared Kuci, IBNA reports.

He says that Kosovo has good laws, but it must be seen how functional these laws are for the legal system and what tasks lay ahead in this aspect.

“Our scope and duty is increase confidence of the citizens on the justice system. Courts and prosecution must be independent and for this, we have created legal mechanisms where the appointment and disciplinary measures are issued by the judicial system and prosecution”, Kuci says.

Minister Kuci added that there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to have a more functional system and that there’s a need for overall changes in the justice system in Kosovo.

Head of the EU office to Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar, as one of the greatest supporters of this project, said that this is only being done with the scope of improving transparency and accountability of institutions.

“We must give great attention to meeting the criteria of Copenhagen for the Progress Report. We all know that rule of law is one of the criteria of Copenhagen. This is why we’re contributing in this aspect, because a strong rule of law, fight against corruption and a sustainable legal system, where the rights and liberties of each one are protected, are necessary”, Zbogar declared.

The head of the Kosovo Judicial Council, Enver Peci said that there must be a reformation in Courts.

“Courts are overloaded. The number of judges and prosecutors must be increased. It’s hard for us to find judges with the necessary level of professionalism that the system requires”, Peci declared.

He said that the agreement with BIRN for the monitoring of courts has had positive impacts.

Laura Pula from the General Attorney’s Office said that the justice system remains a challenge and a mission for everyone.

The 2014 Court Monitoring Report prepared by BIRN and Internews Kosovo includes findings from monitors from 26 courts of the country and from 500 court sessions held in 2014.

Among others, the report recommends for prosecutors to be familiarized with the cases that they handle, to increase the number of judges, to digitalize courts and for EULEX to engage domestic prosecutors in cases which are being handled by international justice in Kosovo. /ibna/