07 December 2016
Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board met in Pristina today to assess the progress in the rule of law area in Kosovo. The Compact Progress Report assessing progress between August 2015 – June 2016 was released during the meeting.
Minister of Justice, Dhurata Hoxha, together with the Head of EULEX Mission in Kosovo Alexandra Papadopoulou, the Head of the EU Office/EUSR, Nataliya Apostolova, Chair of the Kosovo Judicial Council, Nehat Idrizi and Chair of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council Blerim Isufaj attended the meeting.
The Compact Progress Report marks an important step in the development of Kosovo’s rule of law as it registers improvements and remaining challenges of the final year of EULEX’s previous mandate 2014-2016. It also represents a baseline for the future which will reflect increased responsibility of Kosovo’s institutions envisaged in the new mandate of EULEX.
All sides have reinforced their renewed commitment to create sustainable, accountable, independent and multi-ethnic rule of law free from political interference and adhering to international recognised standards.
Minister Dhurata Hoxha welcomed documented progress and challenges within the rule of law in this annual report. Minister Hoxha expressed the commitment of the Government of Kosovo to address challenges from the country report and work closely with rule of law institutions to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo.
The Head of the EU Office/EUSR welcomed the release of the Compact Progress Report 2016 and commended the efforts made by Kosovo Rule of Law institutions in the past year.
“As outlined in the Compact Progress Report, important positive steps have been taken with the adoption and implementation of legislation necessary to strengthen the Rule of Law in Kosovo. In the context of the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the EU Office/ EUSR will continue supporting Kosovo institutions to develop an independent, efficient, sustainable an accountable Rule of Law system.”
According to the report, Kosovo has achieved a number of important objectives as Kosovo institutions are increasingly able to address rule of law challenges on their own. Kosovo Customs has improved its revenue collection as well as its operational capability, while the Witness Protection roadmap has been fulfilled and the Kosovo Police Witness Protection Directorate is ready to handle its first witness. The Kosovo Police is a professional public service that is inclusive of ethnic minorities. The Mitrovica Detention Centre is functioning relatively well as is the High Security Prison in Podujevo.
Yet cooperation between Kosovo Police and State Prosecutors needs further improvement, especially when investigating serious and organised crime. The capacities of local institutions are challenged by the lack of human and financial resources.
The overall staffing of Kosovo Police Inspectorate and Kosovo Correction Service remain a concern. One of the biggest challenges for the Kosovo Judicial Council and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council remain the implementation of the new selection process for judges and prosecutors, their training and the redesign of the performance evaluation system.
The Kosovo Property Agency Appeals Panel and the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court need to hire additional staff to deal with their cases.
The Head of EULEX Mission, Ms. Alexandra Papadopoulou, commended Kosovo's achievements, stressing that further progress is required to reach the commonly set targets and pave the way for EULEX to disengage from certain areas.
"The ambitious goals of this Compact Progress Report need our joint effort to ensure Kosovo is able to achieve the necessary capacities so it can take over responsibility from EULEX. We stand ready to support Kosovo’s rule of law institutions to achieve this goal in their effort to build an efficient rule of law for the benefit of all citizens”, stressed Papadopoulou.
During today's meeting of the Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board, the EU Special Representative/EU Office and EULEX discussed the continuous support for Kosovo’s rule of law institutions. The Compact 3 was signed, thus formally renewing commitment to building strong rule of law institutions for Kosovo. All JRCB principals are determined to solving the problems ahead. The EU stands ready to assist local counterparts, while local counterparts are taking on an even greater share of the responsibility for Kosovo”.
Video- link: http://www.eulex-kosovo.eu/?page=2,13,59