Pristina, October 22 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) in cooperation with the State Prosecutor have organized on Tuesday the sixth roundtable “Justice in November 3 elections”, with the participation of all stakeholders of the justice institutions of central and local level, candidates of political parties, civil society and media. The purpose of this roundtable was to raise the debate and sensitize all stakeholders, political parties and the general public about the readiness of the justice institutions to fight any action towards voting manipulation in the November 3 2013 elections. Betim Musliu from KLI, said that unlike the past elections, in which the role of prosecuting authorities was not proactive, this year with the initiative of the Chief State Prosecutor, the justice institutions have been activated, playing a proactive role in preventing and fighting criminal offenses against voting rights. This proactive role was also a recommendation derived from the KLI report, “Organized Crime in Elections: Policy analyses of Prosecution and Sentence”. Musliu said that the establishment of Standard Action Procedures (SOPs) would oblige the police and the prosecution that in each case where there are persons involved in election crimes, investigate the elements of organized crime in the elections. KLI will monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation “Regarding the 2013 elections”, from which the SOPs derive.
National Coordinator for elections by State Prosecutor, Ms. Laura Pula, said that the State Prosecutor is very proactive, because has signed memorandum of cooperation and has established SOPs. She said that the main principle that derives from SOPs is the detention/arrest of all persons who in one way or another will act against the voting rights. Pula said that 50 prosecutors have been assigned in the whole territory of Kosovo that together with Kosovo Police Investigators will cooperate to fight any kind of activity which are in conflict with the criminal offenses against voting rights. “This time, based on the SOP, we will also react and arrest those persons, who in cases when committing criminal offenses against the voting rights do not inform the responsible while they are obliged to do so…We will also stop those people declare fake, which create wrong opinion for certain purposes”. For the November 3 elections, Pula said that they have already initiated several cases that are under investigation and imposed certain measures against persons suspected of these elections. She has encouraged all citizens, political parties and civil society to report cases of abuse to the police and the prosecutor.
Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Pristina, Mr. Imer Beka, said that this prosecution for the November 3 elections has assigned prosecutors on duty that will cooperate with the investigator and police for the Pristina region. “For all municipalities, we have assigned prosecutors on duty who will react urgently to all cases that may arise”.
Coordinator for elections by Kosovo Police, Rashit Qalaj, said that police authorities have always done the necessary preparations to ensure the election process. “Kosovo Police has always analyzed the experiences of the previous elections and has prepared action plans that will enable close cooperation with prosecutors, with whom as never before will ensure an effective implementation of SOPs”. Coordinator Qalaj, said that now political parties and public opinion has realized that there will be no forgiveness for anyone, everyone shall know that actions will be urgent in accordance with the law to fight any manipulation with the votes.
Part of the discussions was all participants from political parties; the vast majority candidates for mayor, chiefs of election headquarters, school director’s polling station managers, civil society and media were too active to be informed with the role of justice institutions. The participants in the discussions congratulated the initiative and expressed their concerns about the clearance of the voter list, the polling station managers, the appointment of political party commissioners, the power cut at the time the ballot counting process begins, etc.
This activity is part of the series of discussion roundtables in the main centers in Kosovo that are being developed within the project “Initiative for increasing the efficiency of justice institutions for free, fair and democratic elections in Kosovo” supported by the Embassy of Great Britain in Pristina. The next and final roundtable will be held in Gjilan (Wednesday, October 23).