On 6 November, the Kosovo Law Institute, together with EULEX, organized a training workshop on the key concepts of court proceedings and trial monitoring for 20 lay trial monitors, who are expected to monitor some 400 criminal sessions Kosovo-wide. The lay monitors, most of whom have no legal background, were selected based on a number of criteria, including gender, ethnicity, age, education, profession etc.
“The idea is to give Kosovo’s people a voice, the opportunity to see and evaluate how their criminal justice system works, how it is organized, how their main actors interact and how in the end competent institutions deliver justice,” said EULEX’s hate crimes thematic lead monitor and project co-manager, Luis Carnasa, adding that this is a very original project because people who have no legal background or legal experience will have the opportunity for the first time to see and perceive how Kosovo justice institutions function.
The Executive Director of the Kosovo Law Institute, Ehat Miftaraj, noted: “The project itself has to do with citizens becoming monitors of criminal trials in the criminal justice system in Kosovo. The aim of the Kosovo Law Institute, together with our partner, EULEX, is to increase the accountability of the justice system and the Kosovo institutions towards the citizens.”
Ioannis Psimopoulos, EULEX’s justice monitor and project co-manager stressed that the training workshop is part of a lay trial monitoring project, initiated and funded by EULEX and implemented by the Kosovo Law Institute, aiming at enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations to monitor the Kosovo justice system. “By involving Kosovo people in trial monitoring, judicial institutions are strengthened and –as a result- become more trustful,” Psimopoulos added.
A series of ad-hoc training activities will be organized in the following months, designed to complement the monitoring activities and ensure the smooth implementation of the project. Based on the reports of the 20 lay trial monitors, a final assessment report will be prepared and presented to Kosovo’s legal and diplomatic community in mid-2020.