17 December 2021
On 16 December, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) presented its latest Systemic and Thematic Justice Monitoring Report, covering the period from March 2020 to October 2021. The report is based on findings of 295 monitored cases and 378 hearings, as well as specific recommendations for the Kosovo authorities to improve the justice system.
During the presentation, the Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said: “We are committed to promoting the government rule-of-law agenda and the human rights in Kosovo. An independent, impartial, efficient and professional justice is our vision, therefore we shall engage and work hard in this respect.”
The Head of EULEX, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said that the Mission is using a one-of-a-kind methodology through a robust monitoring of selected criminal and civil cases. “Due to the cooperation and support by our Kosovo counterparts this feature of monitoring is so far working well,” Wigemark said, adding: “The recommendations we make in our report are not binding. They are realistic and can have a positive effect on the efficiency, accountability and integrity of the rule of in Kosovo provided that there is a willingness to implement them”
Presenting the main findings and recommendations of the report, the Chief of EULEX’s Case Monitoring Unit, Hubert van Eck Koster, highlighted the monitored overuse of detention on remand, which should be ordered only as a measure of last resort, or the excessive length of detention on remand. Van Eck Koster also said that 30% of the monitored hearings were unproductive and were adjourned without meaningful progress, which has a negative effect on the justice system as it increases the length of proceedings. He also highlighted the lack of progress in handling several high-profile and former EULEX cases.
Following the report’s presentation, the Chair of the Kosovo Judicial Council, Albert Zogaj, said: “Our international partners and your efforts, either through assistance provided or through reports such as this one, also play a major role in our initiatives to improve certain areas in the judiciary. I would like to emphasize that it is extremely important to us to have our partners’ support in our path and to jointly achieve our goal of improving Kosovo’s judicial system.”
Focusing on the report’s recommendations, the Deputy Chair of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, Veton Shabani, said: "This report’s recommendations in relation to the Kosovo prosecutorial system will be addressed by the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council’s competent units within the prosecutorial system. Tangible progress has already been made in some of these recommendations, since they have been dealt with for some time now.”
The Director of the Crime Investigation Division of the Kosovo Police, Fatos Makolli, said: “By taking the recommendations stemming from these observations seriously, the Kosovo Police has made continuous investments in building and strengthening the professional capacities, integrity and education of its members, in particular in the field of organised crime and corruption prevention and investigation. This has led to results and success recognized by the local as well as international mechanisms making the Kosovo Police amongst the most trusted institutions in Kosovo.”
The event took place in Pristina and brought together representatives of rule-of-law civil society organizations, media outlets and international organizations active in the justice area, who had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the report’s findings and recommendations.
The report is available online here:
The factsheet is available here:
The video of the presentation is available here (floor languages): https://www.facebook.com/EULEX.KOSOVO/videos/331645962127214
The audio of the presentation is available here:
Background: EULEX assesses the functioning of the Kosovo Police, prosecution and judiciary in terms of procedural, substantive and human rights law compliance. The assessment is carried out through systemic and thematic monitoring of selected criminal and civil cases, including cases previously dealt with by EULEX until June 2018 under its past executive mandate. The robust monitoring is spanning the entire chain of criminal justice (police, prosecution and courts) as well as certain aspects of the civil justice system. From January 2019 – after concluding in December 2018 the handover of police, prosecutorial and judicial case files to the Kosovo authorities – to October 2021, EULEX’s justice monitors attended 1064 hearings, including on high-profile cases, war crimes cases, gender-based violence cases, corruption cases, and cases previously dealt with by EULEX. This resulted in five reports with findings and recommendations for improvements of the rule-of-law system in order to assist the Kosovo justice institutions in achieving better compliance with Kosovo law and human rights standards.