Prishtina, November 3 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) expresses concern over the unwillingness of members of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC) to implement the mandate of the Council to establish adequate criminal policies for overseeing the fight against corruption in Kosovo.
In a recent report “Corruption in Kosovo 2: Comprehensive Evaluation report on the effectiveness of the prosecutorial system in implementing the anti-corruption action plan”, published on September 5, 2014, KLI identified problems leading to the failure of the prosecutorial system to solve corruption cases.
One issue of concern is related to investigation and trial of corruption cases by prosecutors, who have dismissed criminal charges or have ceased investigations in more than half of the cases. KLI has identified that since the entry into force of the Action Plan (November 4, 2013) to 30 June 2014, of 839 persons against whom corruption cases have been resolved, for 183 or 22% of them criminal charges were dismissed and for 273 or 33% of persons investigations ceased. So in total prosecutors have dismissed criminal charges or have ceased investigations for over 54% of the persons, whereas they have filed indictments for 383 or 46% of persons. The monitoring by the Institute reveals that this trend of dismissal or termination of corruption cases has continued even after June 2014.
Based on these results, KLI has recommended to KPC creation of special committee which would analyze the solution of corruption cases, with a focus on cases of dismissal of criminal charges and cease of investigations by the part of the parties who submitted these cases, especially by Kosovo Police and the Anti-Corruption Agency. The role of this committee would be to identify whether the problems stem from the quality of the acts and their argumentation by the submitting parties or from the decision-making of the prosecutors. In this manner we can establish adequate policies to combat corruption, because the failure to accomplish results in cases of corruption, is a good indicator that the current criminal policies are not functioning, and that subsequently we do not have an efficient fighting of corruption but only a failure of all law enforcement agencies. KLI considers that through this Commission lessons would be derived on future steps to strengthen the role of the prosecutors in practice, as defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Even though, after the publication of the report by the Institute, representatives of the prosecutorial system have pledged that they would immediately implement the recommendation of the Institute to create a special commission, this commission has never been created. During the round table-discussion organized by the Institute, the National Anti-Corruption Coordinator, Ms. Laura Pula, said that “this is the first recommendation after which we (the prosecution system) will take the responsibility to immediately act to create this commission, in order to increase the efficiency and cooperation between institutions, the State Prosecutor and agencies that file criminal charges…”. In addition, this recommendation was proposed by the National Coordinator during the meeting of KPC held on October 16, 2014, but it was not voted by the members of the Council. Various justifications were given by the prosecutors, members of the Council, for the failure to create this Commission; according to them a similar function to verify the dismissal and termination of corruption cases was performed by the Appellate Prosecution in Prishtina. Although a year has passed since the entry into force of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan, KPC has not received any report on the reasons for dismissal and termination of cases of corruption. Problems are evident in solution of the corruption cases, but still we do not have a clear picture as to how these problems originated, so that we could subsequently avoid these causes and increase the efficiency in fighting of corruption.
Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) expresses concern over the unwillingness of members of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council to create this commission, which would identify the real problems surrounding the corruption cases filed by all mandated parties, with special emphasis on law enforcement agencies.
The Institute considers that the refusal to create this mechanism, which would identify problems, proves the unwillingness to formulate adequate penal policies for fighting of corruption and lack of accountability in all cases of failure.
KLI recalls that the problem of lack of cooperation between institutions and law enforcement agencies in fight against corruption is consistently presented as a major problem and a challenge in all local and international reports, especially the reports of the European Commission. Indeed, the Action Plan for Increasing Efficiency of the Prosecutorial System in the Fight Against Corruption was adopted as a result of implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Inter-Institutional Cooperation against Organized Crime and Corruption 2013-2015 adopted by KPC. Almost two years have passed since the entry into force of this Strategic Plan for increased cooperation and coordination between the State Prosecutor and law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corruption but the Council has not made any assessment of its implementation, even though it is obliged to do so.
Therefore, KLI considers that in this respect there are still many problems that must be identified by KPC mechanisms to ensure effective prosecution of perpetrators of corruption offenses in cooperation with all law enforcement agencies in Kosovo.
KLI, through these mechanisms, recommends the creation of criminal policies for prosecution of corruption and for improvement of the quality of the justifications of decisions submitted by prosecutors, which undoubtedly would raise the trust of citizens that the decisions taken by the justice bodies are fair and based on law.
KLI urges that transparency and accountability of the prosecutorial system be advanced and the public be informed about all developments on the administration of justice, in harmony with the constitutional and legal framework.
KLI welcomes the recent decision of the Chief State Prosecutor to publish all indictments on corruption cases since the time of entry into force of the Action Plan. However, although this decision is meritorious and legitimate, such a decision should have been taken by the KPC itself, and it should have included the publication of all decisions to dismiss cases and also decisions to cease investigations in cases of corruption