Pristina, 25th June 2015 – Kosovo Law Institute (KLI), with the support of British Embassy in Pristina, on Thursday, held roundtable “Evaluation of the implementation of Action Plan for increase of efficiency of the Prosecutorial System for Fighting of Corruption”, which has served to discuss implementation of this Action Plan, since entry into force on 4th November 2013 till on 31 March 2015.
In his opening speech, Ambassador of Great Britain, Mr. Ruairi O’Connell, said that all are witnesses that Kosovo continue to face with problems and serious challenges in fighting of corruption and organized crime and that fight of corruption still remains set priority by all institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.
“But we are seeing a result, which talks that the justice system has not shown expected results against corruption. I support this, firstly, in fact that half of the cases of the Action Plan have managed to be solved as seen in the report of Kosovo Law Institute. So, have remained also the same cases unsolved. And, secondly, we have lack of results in fighting of high level corruption” said O’Connell. He said that judges and prosecutors are the first line protectors of principle of separation of powers. “You guarantee building of a justice system independent and impartial, which is key element and clear message for local and foreign investors, that Republic of Kosovo is a calm ambient and safe to invest…You as holders of the judicial and prosecution functions, must be the new heroes of Republic of Kosovo”.
Ambassador O’Connell further said that fight of corruption must be leaded from within institutions and example should have been given first from there. “Is it tolerated to see consecutive involvement in various corruption scandals exactly of the officials that are law implementers and in the same time do not see their punishment? This must be changed by the new heroes of Kosovo, which must say stop to current practices”. O’Connell said that will continue to support KLI to realize monitoring of fight against corruption from prosecutorial system, judicial system, other institutions and agencies that obey the law.
Executive director of KLI, Mr. Betim Musliu, has presented report “Corruption in Kosovo 5: periodic evaluation Report on the effectiveness of the prosecutorial system in the implementation of the action plan for corruption cases”, with founding’s, evaluations and recommendations for implementation of the Action Plan. During presentation of the report, Musliu said that the prosecutors until this reporting period have managed to solve half of the cases of corruption at work. “Founding’s of KLI show that prosecutorial system has failed to reduce significantly number of unsolved cases of corruption. Entering into force of the Action Plan (4th November 2013), prosecutions had at work 516 unsolved cases with 1,682 persons, but on March 31 2015 have remained 556 unsolved cases with 1,652 persons. We have almost the same situation as at the beginning when Action Plan started. He further estimates that in general this is a weak performance of the prosecutors in solving of corruption cases, because less than half have failed to be solved. If we analyze number of cases at the beginning and those that are received during the Action Plan until March 31 2015, results that prosecutions have managed to solve 628 cases or 54% of them with 1,420 persons or 47% of them. So, neither half of cases have not been solved. From those 1,420 persons to whom cases are solved in general, prosecutors have raised indictments against 666 persons, while against 345 persons the criminal reports are dismissed and against 409 persons they have ceased investigations. So more than half were dismissed and investigations were ceased”.
The representative of the State Prosecutors office, Mr. Shqipdon Fazliu, said that presented report by KLI, lies partly because problems are evident and neither State Prosecutor himself is not satisfied with the results so far. “The challenge of corruption should be seen in global level, there are also many developed countries facing this challenge. Naturally, that this fact is not consolation for us…Now we have a strategy to reduce the number of corruption cases. The most important issue is the large number of pending cases. This strategy aims to introduce new methods in solving cases. Now I would ask every Chief prosecutor that how many cases has solved and how many funds has confiscated”, said Fazliu. National Coordinator against Corruption, Ms. Laura Pula, said that report of the KLI is the result of external independent monitoring, which the Institute has done continuously correctly. “I express gratitude to the KLI for correctly fulfilling its mission and monitoring implementation of the action plan. Implementation of this plan remains an obligation for us to meet the objectives. Implementation of the law will be without pardon and fairly”. The judge of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, Mr. Avdi Dinaj, said that in Kosovo are efforts from all segments for zero tolerance for corruption, but results are poor.
The investigation agencies must do their job, to pursue, to reveal, to address and to testify with the evidence these occurrences in the courts. If we compare this occurrence to us in Kosovo with those in the region, we are nowhere”. Director of the Office of Disciplinary Prosecutor, Mr. Zef Prendrecaj, said that in support of five (5) published reports by the KLI for corruption cases, ODP has provided more than 109 prosecutorial files in most of the prosecutions of Kosovo and the Office findings that he leads show that besides many words there is little work. “We consider that probably it is the crucial time that State Prosecutor, prosecutors individually, also citizens, institutions and all other parts, to take actions, to address the issues, in order to improve the perception for the prosecutorial system, the justice system in Kosovo”.
After presenting the report, debate on the table was open for all participants and the table was filled with heated discussions about raising issues for the lack of concrete results in fighting corruption.
D/Chief Prosecutor of Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo, Jonathan Ratel, thanked the British Embassy for their continuous support as he said for the good work the KLI is doing. “This report shows that there are delays in solving cases, and there are many works that are not addressed at all, and this is a big problem. But let us be positive as much as we can. When I arrived in Kosovo, there was a culture of fear from the prosecutors and judges to deal with cases of corruption of high levels, and with these doubts that they are corrupted themselves. I must say that I have a great respect for local prosecutors and judges, and I think they work hard and want to do a good work”.
Ratel said that Kosovo has had lack of strategic focus on high level corruption, and focus has been to the low level corruption.
Speeches for evaluation of the report and the implementation of the Action Plan have continued with the President of the Appeal Court in Pristina, Mr. Sali Mekaj, President of the Basic Prosecution, Mr. Hamdi Ibrahimi, Director of the Agency Anti-Corruption, Mr. Hasan Preteni, and Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Gjakova Ms. Shpresa Bakija, Chief prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Prizren, Mr. Syle Hoxha, representatives of the prosecutorial system, Civil Society and others.
Participant on the roundtable and discussions were also representatives of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, the Kosovo Judicial Council, Kosovo Police, Civil Society, the American Embassy in Kosovo, EULEX, the EU office in Kosovo and the OSCE.