26 September 2017
PRISTINA, 26.09.2017 - The Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board held its regular meeting today that was organized for the first time by the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) and chaired by the KJC Chairman, Mr. Nehat Idrizi.
Minister of Justice, Abelard Tahiri, together with the Chair of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council Blerim Isufaj, the Head of the EU Office/EUSR, Nataliya Apostolova and the Head of EULEX Mission in Kosovo Alexandra Papadopoulou, attended the meeting.
Chairman Idrizi welcomed the JRCB meeting and considered it to be of special value and benefit, which provide the opportunity to the key stakeholders involved in the Kosovo justice system to discuss about the difficulties and challenges in this area. Mr. Idrizi reiterated the firm commitment to cooperate with all rule-of-law partners whose end goal is the establishment and consolidation of a justice system built upon the premises of transparency, accountability, efficiency and meritocracy.
At the beginning of this meeting, the JRCB members were presented the Compact Progress Report. This Report covers the period from June 2016 - June 2017, and notes the progress made in the improvement of the rule-of-law area, with Kosovo institutions’ increased ability to address the rule of law challenges on their own. This meeting is a sign of commitment to the joint rule of law agenda in Kosovo as well as Kosovo Institutions’ continuous effort to address the problem of political interference and corruption.
As regard the Judicial Council and Prosecutorial Council, the Report puts specific emphasis on the administration of selection and recruitment process of judges and prosecutors, including in the north of Kosovo. In addition, the backlog of cases in the judicial system remains a great concern according to the Report.
“The Head of the EU Office/EU Special Representative, Nataliya Apostolova, welcomed the release of the Compact Progress Report and commended the efforts made by Kosovo Rule of Law institutions in the past year. Apostolova urged Kosovo Authorities to implement the remaining recommendations of EC 2016 Kosovo Report in its part on 'Functioning of the Judiciary' as well as relevant priorities of the European Reform Agenda.
“Reviewing and adopting legislations makes mandatory the suspension and/or removal of public officials respectively indicted and convicted for corruption, is an immediate priority that Kosovo Authorities committed themselves to fulfill within the European Reform Agenda”, Apostolova said. “I encourage the inclusion of the required legal provisions in both the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to make it possible. I also encourage the Authorities of Kosovo to step up efforts to comprehensively reform the criminal legislation in order to make it a robust tool for fighting organized crime and corruption, as required by the SAA and 2016 Country Report."
EULEX Head of Mission, Ms. Alexandra Papadopoulou, emphasised the importance of the JRCB meetings as a proper forum to address success and remaining challenges in the rule of law in Kosovo. She congratulated Kosovo’s institutions on their progress so far, as described in the Compact Progress Report. Ms. Papadopoulou acknowledged the professionalism of the Kosovo Police for their accountability and sustainability in the provision of law enforcement services, whilst commending Kosovo Customs for maintaining its high performance, particularly in the collection of revenues.
She called on Kosovo’s rule of law institutions to intensify their efforts in addressing the remaining challenges and to respond to overarching problems such as political interference and corruption.
She stressed that improvement over the next period is expected from the Kosovo Correctional Service in their development towards EU standards. “Continuous interference in the work of this institution, particularly in the treatment of high-profile inmates, impedes its independent functioning and hinders progress.”
Ms. Papadopoulou expressed EULEX’s continuous commitment to assist Kosovo in creating an efficient, independent rule of law system devoid of political interference and in accordance with EU standards and best practices.
“While taking stock of the work done in the past year, the Joint Rule of Law Coordination Board stakeholders remain committed to further develop the rule-of-law sector in line with European Standards and best practices, following the broader requirements set for Kosovo’s EU approximation process. With this in mind, the EU family calls upon Kosovo’s institutions to continue to take greater ownership and responsibility for building up a rule-of-law system that is sustainable, accountable and independent”, notes the Report amongst others.
To see the Compact Progress Report follows the link below: