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Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board Meeting

24 September 2013

The Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board (JRCB) met today at the EULEX Headquarters in Pristina. The meeting was hosted by Bernd Borchardt, EULEX Head of Mission, co-chaired by Samuel Žbogar, Head of the European Union Office and EU Special Representative, and Hajredin Kuçi, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo and Minister of Justice.

The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the 'Compact Progress Report' offering insights into the cooperation and the results achieved since the signing of the Compact in November. The Report highlights, for instance, the progress in the certification of original civil registry books from Kosovo currently in the possession of the Serbian authorities. The copies have been produced and certified as part of the project based in Nis, Serbia, involving EULEX, the EU Office in Kosovo/EUSR, the Danish Refugee Council as the implementing partner, and the teams from Kosovo and Serbia. So far, 6,889 books have been certified. The report further refers to the cooperation between prosecutors and Kosovo Police who have, with the support of EULEX, agreed to hold regular meetings in pursuit of their mandates under the applicable laws. Finally, it outlines how the Kosovo Correctional Services, in partnership with EULEX, have been laying the groundwork for the ability to self-inspect its services by applying the auditing measures from International Standards Audit Programme (ISAP).

The Head of EULEX, Bernd Borchardt stressed the importance of the Compact, stating:

"While the issuance of the Compact Progress Report comes at a sad time for EULEX, I hope it will serve to strengthen the commitment to achieve the Compact objectives, as jointly agreed between Kosovo authorities and the EU family. I would like to thank all those who took part in producing the Report and who work daily on achieving the Compact objectives. The tragic event of last week will only reinforce our resolve to continue working in a partnership to further strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo."

The Head of EU Office and EUSR Samuel Žbogar stated:

"There is a worry within some minority communities that local authorities may be reluctant to investigate their claims of illegal property usurpation and take appropriate enforcement action. Such cases are not only criminal offences, but they send also negative signals to potential returnees and international observers. To this end, the EUSR Office has held meetings with EULEX and the OSCE to establish an objective test analysis, with a view to uncovering the extent to which systematic blockages may or may not actually be occurring. I look forward to seeing the final results of this project, and I hope I can rely on the support of the Kosovo Government to sincerely treat these matters in an objective and constructive spirit."

Deputy-prime minister and Minister of Justice Hajredin Kuçi expressed his satisfaction with the achievements made towards strengthening and consolidation of the Rule of Law in Kosovo, emphasizing:

"The spirit of good partnership between Kosovo institutions, EULEX, and EU Office, is one of the key factors of these achievements. This good partnership must continue to be a source for further capacity building of our institutions in all fields, thus enabling a smooth and effective transition of competencies from international to local institutions."

JRCB members signed a condolence book expressing their condolences to the family of Audrius Šenavičius, who was murdered last week in an attack in northern Kosovo. At the beginning of the meeting, participants, observed a minute of silence to commemorate Audrius Šenavičius.