Wednesday May 21, 2014 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) in cooperation with the State Prosecutor and Kosovo Democratic Institute have organized on Friday the roundtable “Justice in parliamentary elections 2014”, with the participation of all stakeholders of justice institutions of center and local level, candidates of political parties, civil society and media.
Even this year on the initiative of the Chief State Prosecutor, Mr. Ismet Kabashi on May 2014, signed Memorandum of Cooperation “Regarding the parliamentary elections 2014” between the State Prosecutor, Kosovo Judicial Council, Kosovo Police, Central Election Commission and Election Panel for Complaints and Appeals in order to increase the cooperation and coordination between these institutions in undertaking of activities to fight criminal offences against voting rights. As a result of this memorandum, Kosovo Police in cooperation with the State Prosecutor has drafted the Standard Action Procedures (SAP) to increase the efficiency of actions for the criminal offences against voting rights.
National Coordinator for election from the State Prosecutor, Ms. Laura Pula, said that this time the role of the State Prosecutor is very proactive, because as for the local elections of 2013, Memorandum of Cooperation was signed and PSV was created. “I want to let everyone know that the role of prosecutors will be as never before proactive. In the entire territory of Kosovo, on the Election Day, 100 prosecutors will cooperate together with 300 support staff as well as investigators from Kosovo Police”. Pula said that they will implement precisely the main principle that derives from SOPs which is the arrest and detention of all persons who in one way or another will act against the voting rights. “As National Coordinator I encourage all citizens to go to the polls and to vote freely in a democratic way, because justice institutions will be on duty throughout the electoral process”.
Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Prizren Mr. Syle Hoxha, said that prosecutors on the previous local elections have been very committed to protect the vote and for these parliamentary elections justice institutions have created cooperation experiences in protection of the election process. “Basic Prosecution in Prizren has engaged all prosecutors to cover the entire Prizren region…We will be ready for any reaction to prevent and fight anyone who tends to break the election process. We will be vigilant and we will patrol together with the Kosovo Police to take the necessary measures”.
Chief Prosecutor Hoxha has called on the public to use the voting rights, because justice institutions will be security guarantors and that the vote of the citizens will go where they want.
D/General director of the Kosovo Police, Mr. Naim Rexha, said that Police have already prepared action plans and that police officers in cooperation with prosecutors will act as never before to implement the SOPs. “The SOPs based on existing laws will enable an efficient action of police officers and prosecutors and we will act urgently to respond adequately to any abuse of the elections”.
President of the Basic Prosecution of Prizren, Mr. Ymer Hoxha, said that courts work as much as in these institutions police brings cases together with the prosecution. “We have treated and will treat with priority cases of election crimes. You have seen it that sentence policy for cases related to elections is compounded by judges in Kosovo”. Election cases are a bit clunky. Investigations by prosecutors have not been the most adequate and this has created us difficulty to review these cases. Currently in our court are 21 cases being processed and are in trial. Of them, two cases have been completed in the municipal courts”.
Representative of Central Election Commission, Mr. Xhemail Pecani, said that despite the short time for organizing these elections, this institution successfully has managed to complete its obligations, while at this phase the Voting Centers are getting prepared in logistical aspects.
“We are in the phase of finalizing and completing the material that is needed. We will implement the project, which enables preliminary results to be provided. The CEC, based on the large number of invalid ballots, has intensified the notification strategy on the manner of voting, and the manual preparation of these notices, as well as a guide in which are foreseen the criminal offenses.
Representative of the Election Panel for Complaints and Appeals, Mr. Adnan Konushevci, said that ECAP is ready to respond to all appeals regarding this election process. “I appeal to all of you to address to the ECAP only complaints we have mandated and I would like to say that we should not address complaints about dead persons that are on the list or smoking at polling stations”.
Representatives of political parties, the vast majority candidates for deputies in the Kosovo Assembly, commending the initiative, have raised their concerns about pressure and threats to the voters by particular groups and individuals, about the suspicions of buying votes, the voters list, the issue of school directors, the issue of votes of handicapped people etc.
This was the second activity as part of the series of roundtables discussion in the main centers of Kosovo that are developed within the project “Initiative to increase the efficiency of the justice institutions, for free, fair and democratic elections in Kosovo” supported by the Embassy of Great Britain in Pristina. Next roundtables will be held in five other centers, in Gjakova, Peja, Ferizaj, Mitrovica and Pristina.