Pristina, 12 February 2020 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) reacts against the legality of the decision rendered by the Kurti Government regarding the decrease in wages for his cabinet and wages of judges and prosecutors, assessing this decision as unlawful, same as the time when the decision for increase in wages was rendered by former Prime Minister Haradinaj. The decisions have different aims, however they are both unlawful because the solution of the wage problem should be exclusively regulated by law.
KLI in December 2017, reacted against Decision No. 4/20, of Haradinaj Government adopted on 20 December 2017 on enhancing the economic well-being of a category of government cabinet positions, including raising the salaries of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Advisers, and a category of civil servants. This decision almost doubled the salaries of the top positions mentioned. The salary of the Kosovo Prime Minister was increased to 2950 euro, whereas the salary of the Deputy Prime Minister was increased to 2500 euro. The salary of Ministers with this decision was increased to 2000 euro. This decision had a direct impact on the salaries of judges and prosecutors, which according to the Law on Courts and the Law on State Prosecutors increase equivalently whenever there is an increase in the salaries of the executive power.
At that time, KLI had contested the legitimacy and legality of the Haradinaj Government’s decision, which did not expect to regulate the issue of salaries through law, but was urged to raise its salary illegally, being in a situation of conflicts of interest, especially the fact that the salary status of judges and prosecutors, which are legal categories and cannot move through the decisions of the executive power.
The Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo in 2010 adopted the Law on Courts and the Law on State Prosecutor, establishing the standard of leveling wages for judges and prosecutors with salaries in the executive of the country, respectively the salaries of the President of the Supreme Court and Chief State Prosecutor were equal to the salary of the Prime Minister of the country, and the salaries of judges and prosecutors to the salaries of ministers.
KLI under no circumstances questions the legitimacy of the Kurti Government’s decision to cut wages for the cabinet, even considering the general circumstances in Kosovo, as a fair decision not to have extreme wage inequality between senior state leaders and other positions in the state administration.
KLI has requested reconsideration and annulment of all unlawful decisions of the Haradinaj Government in order to restore legitimacy to the Kurti Government’s decision-making, but this has in no way required it to be done unlawfully, without following the rules of procedure and disrespecting legality.
In this case, KLI considers that the Kurti Government has acted in an unlawful manner, because leaving the salaries of judges and prosecutors at the same level, reducing only the salaries of senior state officials, contradicts the Law on Courts and State Prosecutor Law, which state that salaries of judges and prosecutors are equivalent with those of executive power.
In this regards, KLI considers that if there is a will, as expressed in this case by the Kurti Government to regulate the issue of wages, it should await the decision of the Constitutional Court on the Law on the Salaries of Public Officials and make the decision exclusively through the law, which should to be approved by the Assembly of Kosovo and in no matter should it be addressed through government decisions.
KLI expects to see the written decision and reasoning to see what legal references were highlighted when leaving the increased salaries status of prosecutors and judges. KLI responds in any form to any decision, even if considered useful, as long as it is not based on law. In this case, the salaries of judges and prosecutors are a legal category and even for good intentions, cannot be transformed into decisions of the executive power because the powers can be constantly changed, while the legal certainty of the salaries of judges and prosecutors must not be violated. We will also be interested to see how the Ministry of Finance will proceed with the salaries of judges and prosecutors, if the Law on Courts and State Prosecutors is taken as a reference, which tentatively stipulates that their salaries should be equivalent to executive salaries
KLI considers that good governance and rule of law must be a guide not only for this government but for all civil servants in Kosovo. KLI invites the Kurti Government that in such cases where their decisions aim to return the legality and equality before the law, such decisions must be based on law and procedure.
In this regard, we call upon the government that prior to rendering any decision, to conduct an appropriate analysis and to follow the procedure stipulated by law so that the anarchy created by the Haradinaj Government has its legitimacy returned and the legitimacy and public confidence in these decisions.