Pristina, September 16, 2019 – The rule of law is the focus of KLI and at the same time the program in which the organization is most active. Our work towards the purpose deriving from the program name itself focuses on strengthening law enforcement fairly, impartially and independently. This goal is achieved by enhancing transparency and accountability in the justice sector, enhancing access to justice and strengthening the judiciary in Kosovo.
Rule of law includes but is not limited to political, constitutional, legal, and human rights issues. Every democratic society, including the Republic of Kosovo, aspires for a rule of law that is based on the guarantee and respect of international values, principles and practices and the promotion of human rights, therefore as a fundamental principle it must recognize and implement in practice the supremacy of the law.
The rule of law is a pillar that guarantees the democratic state and ensures responsibility and legal control against political leaders, ensures control and balance between powers and promotes human rights and freedoms and legal certainty for its citizens. A precondition for a democratic state where the rule of law is fair, equal and impartial for all citizens is the guarantee by the Constitution, law and in practice of the independence of the respective powers.
The Constitution of Kosovo guarantees the separation of powers between legislative, executive and judicial powers. KLI from 2009, systematically monitors the justice system in Kosovo, in terms of policy formulation and implementation in practice. KLI reports have consistently highlighted the lack of functional independence in the work of the justice system. Even though the judicial and prosecutorial system are independent from legislative and executive power pursuant to law and the constitution, practice has shown that the same is easily influences by politics in the aspect of the process of appointment form prosecutors, judges, chief prosecutors and court presidents. As a result of political influence and interference, Kosovo has serious problems in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating organized crime, high-level corruption, money laundering and confiscation of illegally obtained wealth.
Since the end of supervised independence in 2012, the justice system in Kosovo, despite the adoption of a large number of laws, policies and strategies that have been based on promoting the rule of law, have failed to demonstrate progress in achieving concrete results, both in terms of combating phenomena related to organized crime and corruption, as well as in terms of fulfilling the constitutional mandate in controlling and balancing powers. Kosovo in 2018, for the first time ever in certain international reports has started to be called a seized state.
The years 2018 and 2019 have characterized Kosovo with a large number of scandals and unlawful decisions adopted by the outgoing government, as well as a lack of will and courage of security and justice institutions to exercise legal powers and responsibilities in initiating investigative procedures in cases where corrupt affairs have been reported or exposed either by the country’s executive or other central and local level institutions.
In order to repair the damages caused by governments that were in power thus far, improve the rule of law and good governance, orientate state policies to the interest of citizens and the public interest, political parties should provide the public with their governing programs, their concepts regarding the following areas, including providing with solutions and their practical handling of these, during their governing mandate. Therefore, political parties shall answer, which is:
- The public concept of political parties regarding the functional review of the rule of law sector in Kosovo.
- The public concept of political parties regarding the fulfillment of obligations arising from the Stabilization and Association Agreement and the European Reform Agenda in the field of rule of law and good governance.
- The public concept of political parties regarding the need of a vetting process in Police, Kosovo Intelligence Agency, prosecutorial system and judicial system.
- The public concept of political parties regarding the unlawful increasement of the number of war veterans and the protection of the budget of the Republic of Kosovo, including the return of illegally obtained funds (institutional approach and protection of the independence of justice institutions while handling this case).
- The public concept of political parties regarding the initiative of Kosovo Law Institute for the Chief State Prosecutor to be elected directly from the Government: The citizen of the Republic of Kosovo – the voter – rightly demands from the future government to fight corruption and organized crime. Whenever there are national elections, he/she has this opportunity, so he/she rightly wants to choose which political party offers the solution to fight this phenomenon in Kosovo. While the prosecutorial system remains formally independent and without accountability in practice, no government will be held accountable for failures in the fight against corruption. This accountability would be possible for both the Government and the Chief State Prosecutor if the Constitution was amended. What is the opinion of the political parties regarding the initiative to make constitutional changes to elect the Chief State Prosecutor directly from the executive?
- Adoption of the Law on Government: Political parties come up with a governing concept regarding the willingness to adopt the Law on Government, which law stipulates the number of ministries, powers, responsibilities, number of deputy prime ministers, deputy ministers, political advisors, etc. Law on Government, to determine/limit the powers of the government in cases when the government is in resignation or is an outgoing government.
- Decriminalizing Governance: Political parties in the governing program to elaborate their political views on appointments to public office of individuals without criminal past, setting the standard that individuals accused of corrupt activity to not be part of the government in Kosovo (MPs, ministers, deputy ministers, members of boards, public enterprises, independent agencies, etc.).
- The opinion of the political parties regarding the deportation of the “Gulenists”. Following the judgement of the Basic Court in Pristina and the Court of Appeals it has been proven regarding the legal violations in the unlawful process of the six Turkish citizens. Political parties in their governing program, within the competencies and responsibilities as a future government to propose specific steps regarding the improvement of the image of the Republic of Kosovo in dealing with this case.
- The opinion of political parties over ongoing debates on monopoly in homologation and other areas are issues of concern to Kosovo taxpayers, for which political parties should have a clear view and concept regarding the measures and steps they will take in order to ensure the rule of law and good governance in this area.
- The concept of political parties regarding the nature protection and hydropower construction. Political parties should come up with a public concept on addressing river burial, nature destruction and endangering the basic rights of citizens in their habitat from hydropower construction based on suspicious permits issued at the central and local level.