On 12 March, the Head of EULEX, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, held a first introductory meeting with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, and exchanged views on how EULEX could further provide assistance in the rule of law area.
After congratulating Prime Minister Kurti on his election to this post, Wigemark said that the fact that the fight against corruption and organized crime is on the top of the government’s agenda is very encouraging. EULEX Head of Mission Wigemark mentioned the essential role of the rule of law in the European Commission’s revised enlargement methodology, and offered EULEX’s support for the implementation of the needed reforms to advance the rule of law in Kosovo.
“The EU is with you,” said Wigemark, adding that that EULEX will continue to be a reliable and honest partner for all Kosovo rule of law institutions, including by carrying out robust monitoring of the entire criminal justice chain, advising the Kosovo Correctional Service, supporting the implementation of existing EU-facilitated rule of law agreements as well as by assisting in the identification of conflict-related missing persons.
During the meeting, the Head of EULEX shared with the Prime Minister Kurti a copy of the latest EULEX systemic and thematic monitoring report on the Kosovo judiciary. A result of the Mission’s robust case monitoring at police, prosecutorial and judicial level, the report includes trends and patterns affecting the functioning of the judiciary, as well as recommendations to address the identified shortcomings.
Kurti and Wigemark also agreed to intensify the cooperation in the area of missing persons. To date, EULEX experts work together with local counterparts at the Institute of Forensic Medicine to determine the fate of missing persons by offering expertise and advice in the identification of potential mass graves and the exhumation and identification of victims from the Kosovo conflict. EULEX has conducted or participated in 651 field operations to find, identify and re-associate human remains. The remains of 456 individuals have been identified, including 311 missing persons.
EULEX Head of Mission Wigemark and Prime Minister Kurti agreed to strengthen the well-established cooperation between Kosovo and EULEX, and to make full use of the Mission’s extensive insight into the challenges Kosovo’s rule of law system is faced with.