Pristina, January 29 2019 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI), with the support of British Embassy in Kosovo and NED, on Tuesday held a conference for media, in which has presented report “Independence, efficiency, accountability and integrity of judicial and prosecutorial system (Report of systematic monitoring of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in 2018)”.
Gzim Shala researcher at KLI has presented findings of the report, which prove that Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) and Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC) also during 2018 faced with the lack of efficiency, accountability and integrity in exercising constitutional and legal responsibilities. “KLI as result of systematic monitoring that was done to the two Councils, estimates that these institutions, competencies and responsibilities determined by Constitution and law, have not been able to implement them in practice” said Shala.
According to KLI, Constitution and applicable law define that KJC and KPC, exercise their authority in relation to the courts and prosecutions through control mechanisms, such as evaluation of performance of judges and prosecutors, presidents of courts and chief prosecutors, as well as through their discipline mechanism on cases when they violate Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Year 2018, as in previous years, has not made any progress towards increasing efficiency of these control mechanisms. On the other hand, during 2018 are many cases when judges, prosecutors, president of courts and chief certain chief prosecutors have violated principles and Code of Ethics but none of them was not dismissed due to weak performance or due to disciplinary measures. Exception makes KPC which during this year, through disciplinary measures has degraded a prosecutor from the Serious Crimes Department to the General.
Year 2018 has not made efficiency regarding adoption of secondary legislation at the KJC and KPC. On the contrary, for this year are evidenced only two regulations adopted by the KJC, whereas only one regulation adopted by the KPC. Two Councils, still have not reached nor in 2018 to complete adoption of secondary legislation regarding implementation of basic laws adopted in 2011, and that laws now are repealed with the adoption of the new laws of judiciary package.
Kosovo as result of requests of European Union (EU), regarding the fulfillment of criteria for visa liberalization during 2015, had fulfilled and amended the package of laws of the judiciary. Among the requests of the EU was that during the adoption of these laws, to give importance to the harmonization of provisions of laws on the KJC, Courts and laws on KPC and State Prosecutor. Whereas EU had requested harmonization, cooperation and coordination between the Councils, year 2018 has marked the biggest clashes between them. The lack of concrete results in fighting corruption of high profile and organized crime has served as topic to raise mutual accusations to find the culpable of the failures. On the other hand, KPC and State Prosecutor, all failures in representation and defense of high profile indictments have addressed to the judiciary, emphasizing that only indictments of high profile for corruption are being fell by the judges. On the other hand, KJC has reacted publicly charging the State Prosecutor that is attempting to attribute the failures to the judiciary, attempts that according to them interfere on the independence of their work.
From the systematic monitoring, KLI has found that there is a lack of debate between the members of the Councils, especially debate and substantial contribution during meetings where policies are treated, strategies, and relevant documents for adoption. Whereas in KJC’s meetings it is noticed a more widespread debate among members, in KPC’s meetings also during 2018 there are members that their voice was never heard. Their only contribution in these meetings is raise of hand to vote for different points proposed in the Council. Characteristic of the meetings in KPC is fact that the vast majority of decisions are taken unanimously. KLI estimates the fact that many members never speak and decisions are taken with unanimous vote prove that members of the Councils, especially KPC, are turned into voting machines.
Transparency to the public and civil society still remains challenge for the KJC and the KPC. In over 50% of requests for access to public documents, KLI has not received response from the judicial and prosecutorial system during 2018. A certain number of regulations and adopted decisions by the KJC and KPC still were not published on the website not even this year. In this direction KPC over 85% of adopted decisions did not publish on the website of the Council.
KLI while monitoring the KJC has found that the legal obligation was not fulfilled on the establishment of new branches of the Basic Court of Pristina in the municipality of Fushe Kosovo and Obiliq. As stipulated in the law, their establishment will affect on the unloading of the most loaded Court in country, in Pristina and will increase access to the justice for citizens of these municipalities.
Furthermore, KLI estimates that positive legislation in Kosovo ensured full independence to the two Councils in exercising their functions and responsibilities. This independence has started to be abused by two Councils, implementing the law according to individual interests of certain persons within the system, where for many concrete cases, KLI constantly has raised concerns publicly. The lack of will and integrity of two Councils to fulfill with efficiency, integrity and professionalism their constitutional and legal obligations is the worst message that these two Councils can spread to the judges and prosecutors, as well as to the wide public. This access turns into principle of work inefficiency, the lack of accountability and impunity.
Among others, KLI finds it very concerning the treatment of the KJC and KPC as departments that are led by the Minister of Justice, Abelard Tahiri. According to KLI, visits and constant meetings that Tahiri has had with two chair persons of the Councils, have created in public opinion as KJC and KPC are led by the Ministry of Justice, and not that they are independent institutions. KLI finds it very concerning these “cooperation”. Cooperation among KJC and KPC on the other hand, and MJ on the other hand, should be on the field in which these institutions should coordinate the agenda, such as legislative initiatives, working groups or in fields related with the drafting of policies in the justice sector, where competent is the Ministry of Justice.
The report of the KLI presents all the work, decisions, secondary legislation, fulfillment of legal obligations as well as specific findings for the KJC and KPC.
Find attached the report in Albanian “Independence, efficiency, accountability and integrity of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Council”