Peja, October 17 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) in cooperation with the State Prosecutor, and Eye Vision organized on Thursday in Peja the roundtable “Justice in November 3rd elections”, with the participation of all stakeholders of the justice institutions of central and local level, with candidates of political parties, civil society and media.
Betim Musliu from KLI, said that the purpose of this roundtable is to raise the debate and sensitize all stakeholders, political parties and general public about the readiness of justice institutions to fight any action towards voting manipulation in November 3rd elections 2013. This proactive role this year has been done with the initiative of the Chief State Prosecutor, who has activated the justice institutions, in preventing and fighting criminal offenses against voting rights. Musliu said that this proactive role was a recommendation arises from the KLI report published last year “Organized Crime in Elections: Policy Analysis of prosecution and sentence”.
National Coordinator for elections by State Prosecutor, Laura Pula, said that the justice institutions for the November 3 elections have been prepared as never before to play a proactive role in preventing and fighting all criminal offenses against voting rights. Pula, said that this close cooperation of justice institutions is a legal obligation, but also stems strongly from the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation “Regarding the elections 2013”, from which the State Prosecutor in cooperation with the Kosovo Police have drafted the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which ensure the effectiveness of fighting all criminal offenses against voting rights. “All over Kosovo will be 50 prosecutors on duty along with investigators from Kosovo Police. The main principle that arises from SOPs is the detention/arrest of all persons who in one way or another will act against the voting rights”.
Pula said that the Criminal Code with the Chapter dedicated to criminal offenses against voting rights has severed the sentences. While, said that the prosecution and investigation of vote abusers will be made in all cases, including those specific cases, where criminal offenses against voting rights are committed by commissioners and are not informed. “Prosecutors along with the police will use legal provisions to verify and detain all incriminated persons, who will be stopped and arrest urgently. So far I have informed you that we have three cases initiated for these elections, in two cases we have investigations in the process, while a person is assigned house arrest”.
Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Peja, Agron Galani, said that this prosecutor for the 2010 elections has identified 57 cases with a total of 247 persons. “Of these cases, one case was dismissed and 36 indictments were raised, of which 22 indictments have been confirmed by the court. We have 3 verdicts of imprisonment of up to 90 days, and for all of these three verdicts we have filed a complaint”.
Chief Prosecutor Galani said that prosecutors of this prosecution will actively undertake activities and measures during the entire election process in the investigation and criminally prosecution of all those who are in conflict with the legal provisions dealing with criminal offenses against the right to vote. Galani said that the Basic Prosecution of Peja has assigned by a prosecutor on duty for the municipalities of Decan, Istog, Kline and Junik, while for the municipality of Peja will be two prosecutors on duty. Coordinator for election by Kosovo Police, Rashit Qalaj, said that police officers throughout the election process will be vigilant to respond to all cases related with elections. “Cooperation with the State Prosecutor through SOPs will indeed provide an increased efficiency of police and prosecutorial in all cases related to criminal offenses against voting rights”.
Qalaj said that based on previous elections experiences, Kosovo Police has made its own analysis, according to which has prepared its own action plans. “We have learned a lot from our past experiences, so together with the prosecutors we are implementing SOPs effectively so that nobody would violate the free vote of the citizens. I encourage you to report any irregularities in the Kosovo Police”.
As in previous debates, representatives of political parties, where most of them were candidates for presidents, congratulated this initiative, saying that these activities were missing precisely in the previous elections, while have raised concerns about issues related with elections, starting by removing posters, the involvement of commissioners under investigation in the November 3 elections, photographing of votes by voters, as well as addresses where the elections cases of abuse should be reported. This year on the initiative of the Chief State Prosecutor, Ismet Kabashi on September 18, 2013 signed a Memorandum of Cooperation “Regarding the 2013 elections” between the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, Kosovo Judicial Council, Kosovo Police, Central Election Commission and Election Panel for Complaints and Appeals. The purpose of this memorandum is to increase the cooperation and coordination between these institutions in undertaking activities to successfully fight criminal offenses against voting rights, including here, prevention of these criminal offenses that are in conflict with the legislation in force. As a result of this memorandum, the State Prosecutor in cooperation with the Kosovo Police has drafted the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to increase the efficiency of actions for criminal offenses against voting rights.
Betim Musliu from KLI said that this institute through its monitors will monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation “Regarding elections 2013”.
This activity is part of the series of discussion roundtables in the main centers of Kosovo, developed within the project “Initiative to increase the efficiency of justice institutions for free, fair and democratic elections in Kosovo” supported by the Embassy of Great Britain in Pristina. The next roundtables will be held in five other centers, in Mitrovica, Ferizaj, Pristina and Gilan.