Kosovo’s justice system reforms are in a stalemate

Kosovo’s justice system reforms are in a stalemate

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, February 16, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Judicial system in Kosovo is facing many problems. The reforms that have been demanded by the European Commission with the aim of guaranteeing independence, efficiency and accountability of judicial institutions, are not being entirely applied.

Expert of legal affairs, Fatos Rushit told IBNA that the reforms have not only have come to a stalemate, but there are also steps backwards in fulfilling the necessary criteria for EU accession.

“Official politics misinterpret the complaints of the European Commission on the situation in the justice system. The government says that there are achievements and reforms in the justice system, but unfortunately, we don’t and the problems in the judicial system are worrying for the stability of the country. The main complaints relate to the failure to examine cases within the deadline and failure to provide a fair ruling”.

Rushiti says that there are certain acts that have been adopted in compliance with the EU regulation, but unfortunately, they have never been implemented in practice, something which confirms the fact that institutions only claim that there are reforms in the justice system.

Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Pristina, Arsim Avdiu told IBNA that the problems in the judicial system are clear and that the progress report has clearly identified the problems.

“The long trials are caused by many factors and it’s a fact that there exists a selective approach in the examination of trial cases. There are also cases which are justified, however, the state has an obligation to enable a prompt solution of procedures”.

He says that the government of Kosovo must deliver reforms in compliance with the progress report.

In the Kosovo judicial system, there are around 400 thousand cases still unsolved.

The head of Kosovo’s Judicial Committee, Enver Peci, says that a strategy has now been drafted for the solution of this problem.

The low number of judges has caused delays, but according to the head of the Judicial Committee, this is soon expected to be solved with the appointment of 40 new judges by the President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga.

Meanwhile, Petrit Kryeziu from the Balkan Network for Investigative Journalism, that monitors the work of courts, said that they have recommended solutions for these cases.

For Kryeziu, corruption cases are the ones to be delayed the most by courts. In order for the courts not to cause delays, he recommends the application of bails and this would speed up cases.

The judicial and justice system in Kosovo has gone through difficult phases. The high number of cases along with problems that have been inherited by the past, has made work in the judicial system harder than in any other country of the region. /ibna/