Pristina, August 26, 2021 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) considers that the Special Department of the Court of Appeals has acted correctly when it handled the case of Ivan Todosijevic in a regular panel. According to KLI, the Brussels Agreement on Justice, the Regulation of the KJC and case law prove that the Division of the Court of Appeals in Mitrovica had no jurisdiction in this case.
The Agreement on Normalization of Relations stipulates the establishment of a division of the Court of Appeals, which will handle all cases of Serb-majority municipalities. In this case, it is important to note that this Agreement does not refer to nationality (Serb), but refers to municipalities as a unit, respectively Serb-majority municipalities. Therefore, the argument that individuals of Serbian nationality should be adjudicated only by the Division of the Court of Appeals in Mitrovica is invalid, as the Agreement refers to cases within the jurisdiction of those municipalities, and not every individual of Serbian nationality coming from those municipalities.
This Agreement is materialized by the KJC Regulation, which has listed Serb-majority municipalities and instance jurisdiction for those municipalities, emphasizing that the Division of the Court of Appeals in Mitrovica will only deal with cases that come from first instance courts of these 10 Serb-majority municipalities. The same Regulation was drafted and approved in full coordination and cooperation between the KJC and international partners, especially the experts of the European Union Office in Kosovo.
The case of the Member of the Parliament Ivan Todosijevic is not of this nature. This case, arising from the SPRK’s indictment, was adjudicated by the Special Department of the Basic Court in Pristina and not by a court of first instance in any of the Serb-majority municipalities.
Hence, KLI considers that the Court of Appeals has decided correctly when adjudicating this case, because in cases that are adjudicated by the Special Department of the Basic Court in Pristina as the first instance, the Special Department of the Court of Appeals as the second instance is competent and not the Division of the Court of Appeals in Mitrovica (as the case adjudicated in the first instance is not in a Serb-majority municipality).
Moreover, from the systematic monitoring of court hearings conducted by KLI, other cases have been identified in the past when this was done by the Court of Appeals. Cases adjudicated in the Special Department of the Basic Court in Pristina, even when the accused was a Serb (even a resident of one of the Serb-majority municipalities), were not adjudicated in the second instance by the Division of the Court of Appeals in Mitrovica, but by Special Department of the Court of Appeals. In this manner it was acted also in cases adjudicated by the basic courts which have no jurisdiction in Serb-majority municipalities.
At the same time, KLI invites the European Union to be extra careful in public reactions regarding the implementation of the Brussels Agreement, with special emphasis on the Brussels Agreement on Justice. Urgent, unfounded reactions and accusing one party unjustly, seriously undermine public confidence in these agreements, encourage citizens of the Serb community not to integrate into the Kosovo justice system, and open opportunities for the Serbian side to interfere unjustly in this process. Moreover, such reactions encourage the other party to publicly react and promote war crimes in Kosovo, as was the case of President Vucic, who labeled the Reçak massacre as fiction.
 First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations. Article 10. (Follow link: https://kryeministri.rks-gov.net/wp-content/uploads/docs/Marreveshja_e_Pare_per_Normalizimin_e_Marredhenieve_19_prill_2013.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1T7AYYmVXWcy9etmAkvwMs4SglajJrMaUgeQhU86otWyYYhIJGyJkebRY)
 Regulation no. 02/2020 on Internal Organization and Activity of the Courts od the Republic of Kosovo. Annex 1. Article 3 and 4. (Follow link: https://www.gjyqesori-rks.org/wp-content/uploads/lgsl/31597_Rregullore_Nr_02_2020_per_organizimin_dhe_veprimtarine_brendshme_te_gjykatave.pdf)