Pristina, 19 October 2020, The Government of Kosovo in its agenda for the Government meeting on 19 October 2020, specifically item six (6) of the agenda determined “Review of the decision proposal for the dissolution of the Government Decision No. 02/110 dated 26 February 2010”, a decision that established the task force on anti-corruption in the Kosovo Police.
On 26 February 2010, the Government of Kosovo in cooperation with EULEX, requested from the Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo (SPRK) to establish a Special Anti- Corruption Department with the purpose of investigating and fighting corruptive phenomena’s in Kosovo.
To this end, the Government of Kosovo undertook the recruitment of 30 investigative officers of the Kosovo Police, who would be directly, involved in the investigation of cases which, would be investigated by the Special Anti- Corruption Department of the SPRK.
The functioning of the Special Anti- Corruption Department, which to the public is known as a Task Force on Anti-Corruption within the Kosovo Police, acts as a specialised unit within the Investigation Department that is supervised by the SPRK.
This task force was established by the Government decision, dated 26 February 2020 and with regards to the functioning, this task force is a type or precedent of judicial police within the justice system in Kosovo.
In order to make this Task Force operational, the United States and the European Union, through their mechanisms, have trained and specialised almost 30 police officers serving in this mechanism, in order for them to be able to investigate corruption cases and financial crimes as well as serve as an effective tool of the SPRK in investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption.
Since the functioning of this Task Force, the most complex and high-level cases, involving political figures of the main parties such as PDK, LDK, AAK, other parties and senior public officials have been investigated by this Task Force.
In this regard, the Government decision to review the option of the termination and dissolution of this Task Force without any public consultation whether on an institutional platform or in report with its international partners and civil society can be seen as political revenge against officials of this Task Force.
Furthermore, regarding the work of this Task Force, every year, the European Union Progress Report, has requested that the work of this Task Force must be promoted, including the request that this specialised Task Force should continue its mandate in service of the SPRK.
The decision of the Government of Kosovo also is in contradiction with the process of Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector in Kosovo, which process has made a detailed evaluation of the work of this Task Force, providing concrete recommendations to improve integrity and the performance of this task force, but under no circumstances its termination and dissolution.
Within the policy documents, issued during the process of Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector in Kosovo, the document that addresses this task force is the document “Improving the Institutional Framework for Fighting Corruption”. This task force is superficially mentioned also in the document “Integrity of the Kosovo Police”.
None of the Functional Review documents disputes the need for this task force, but in relation to this task force, the policy document issued within the Functional Review identifies as specific problems the lack of procedural provisions for conducting joint investigations by SPRK and SACD or task force. Also, according to the Functional Review document, a specific problem is the uncertainty whether there is a coordination and cooperation mechanism between SACD and the Basic Prosecution Offices.
Facing these two (2) specific problems, the Functional Review document recommends improving the work of the SACD or the abovementioned task force.
Moreover, within the recommendation 7.2.3. of the document “Improving the Institutional Framework for Fighting Corruption” are emphasized in details the activities to be undertaken and the expected results in case of improving the work of SACD or the Anti-Corruption task force.
In this regard, the tendency of the Government of Kosovo to terminate institutions that operate for more than 10 years in the fight against corruption, without analysis and public consultation with the competent stakeholders in Kosovo, is seen as revenge of the Government for investigations conducted by this Task Force against a large number of political parties members in leadership positions, especially of PDK, LDK and AAK, cases which have mainly failed in prosecution and judiciary bodies.
The decision to terminate this Task Force follows the ad-hoc decisions of the Government and the dismissal of the Director of Police, Director of Tax Administration of Kosovo and Director of Kosovo Customs, without adequate analysis, without adequate public information regarding the basis of these decisions, which in public are perceived as means to seize the main law enforcement institutions in Kosovo that have the competence to fight corruption and crime.
KLI recommends the Government of Kosovo to not undertake unilateral actions that directly violate its policies, taking decisions that are publicly understood as decisions taken in order to seize independent institutions. This draft-decision to terminate the Task Force runs counter to the Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector process, dismisses all investments made by international partners in profiling anti-corruption investigators, as well as sends the worst message to independent institutions, that anyone who acts contrary to the interests of the politics will suffer the same fate.
Short information regarding the Anti-Corruption Task Force
Most of the international reports wrongfully refer to the existence of two Anti-Corruption Task-Forces: one – within the Kosovo Police and the other – within the Office of the Special Prosecution (SPRK).
In fact, Special Anti-Corruption Department (SACD) or so-called “Anti-Corruption Task Force” is part of Kosovo Police that operates as a specialized unit within the Investigation Department and supervised by the SPRK.
Special Anti-Corruption Department was established according to the Government Decision no-02/110, dated 26/02/2010, for the purpose of investigating sensitive cases with corruption and financial character within the Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo. The decision of the Government of Kosovo has determined the involvement of EULEX and local prosecutors in SACD, as well as police officers and tax experts.
SACD currently consists of special prosecutors and 30 police investigators. This Department conducts investigations in cooperation with and under the supervision of the SPRK. At the same time, according to reports, it turns out that the Chief of the SPRK serves as the coordinator of joint investigations and the prosecution process for the most serious cases. Therefore, it can be said that SACD is a type or precedent of judicial police in the Kosovo justice system.
According to SACD after the completion of the preliminary investigation, the Department also cooperates with the Basic Prosecution Offices when applicable. Although in accordance with the Law on Special Prosecution, the SPRK may coordinate and direct the investigation and prosecution of cases that fall under its exclusive competence or subsidiary competences through the offices of various prosecutors working in Kosovo, neither in the primary legislation nor in the by-laws, there are no references to the procedural provisions for conducting joint investigations by SPRK and DSAK.
 Deicison 02/2010 dt. 26.02.2010. Available at: http://kryeministri-ks.net/ëp-content/uploads/docs/Vendimet_e_Mbledhjes_se_110_-te_te_Qeverise_2010.pdf