06 tetor 2009
EULEX would like to stress that, according to the Kosovo law, the opinions expressed and the positions taken by judges during their internal discussions in reaching a verdict are confidential.
This is a fundamental rule which guarantees the independence and the impartiality of the judges whose decisions are taken in accordance with the applicable law and on the basis of the evidence gathered.
Following a sensitive trial, a Kosovo judge did not abide by this rule. He made a public statement about the confidential deliberations he had had to with two EULEX colleagues.
Now it is up to the competent Kosovo authorities to look into this event which raises two major issues.
First, the Kosovo judiciary does not appear to have sufficient protection from outside interference. Kosovo judges work in a difficult environment where threats are made and pressure exerted. EULEX calls on all institutions concerned – especially the Kosovo Judicial Council – to strengthen their commitment to ensuring that prosecutors and judges may work in an environment free from any kind of threats, pressure or promises.
Secondly, it is of the utmost importance for the Kosovo judiciary to strengthen its commitment to apply the existing rules. This is essential for building a fair, effective and credible justice system in Kosovo.
In full compliance with its mandate, EULEX will be vigilant and supportive.