Pristina, 30 January 2020 – Legal Expert Advisory Panel in the Republic of Kosovo (LEAP Kosovo), on Thursday, together with Dutch LEAP members, two Dutch judges and representatives from Fair Trials and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee visited some of main stakeholders of the rule of law in Kosovo.
During the visit they met with the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Enver Peci, President of the Baisc Court in Pristina, Ms. Afërdita Bytyqi and some other judges, where they discussed regarding the appointment of defense counsel ex officio and the establishment of the practice of more frequent visits to correctional and detention centers, by the Presidents of Basic Courts.
During these visits they also discussed in details regarding the interpretation of Article 58 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Kosovo (CPCRK), “Defense Counsel at Public Expense When There is Not Mandatory Defense”, in accordance with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) when making decisions concerning the “interests of justice” affecting the rights of the defendant under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Further, member of LEAP Kosovo, Dutch LEAP members, two Dutch judges and representatives from Fair Trials and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee met with representatives of Kosovo Police, where they discussed more about the rights of defendants and suspects in criminal proceedings, namely their rights to legal representation, the prevention of ill-treatment in detention and correctional centers, as well as the rights of individuals deprived of their liberty. They also discussed regarding the importance of explaining the consequences of waiving their rights to legal representation during criminal proceedings.
Present in these meetings were Mr. Tomasz Kodrzycki, Mr. Tom van Assendelft de Coningh and Ms. Gwen Jansen, lawyers of criminal justice field and Dutch LEAP members, Mr. Kees van der Weide and Ms. Katerien Witteman, judges in Netherlands and former judges in Kosovo, Mrs Annemiek van Goor from the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Mrs. Ilze Tralmaka from Fair Trials.
Meanwhile, LEAP Kosovo members that attended these meetings were Mr. Ehat Miftaraj and Mr. Anton Ndrecaj from Civil Society, Ms. Luljeta Plakolli-Kasumi, Ms. Gjylbehare Murati and Ms. Albulena Ukimeri from the academic field and Mr. Kushtrim Palushi from the Bar.
Kosovo Law Institute in cooperation with CLARD, Fair Trials Europe and Netherlands Helsinki Committee, are in the process of implementing the project on “Advancing Criminal Procedural Rights”, supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Pristina through the MATRA programme.
The purpose of this project is the promotion of the rights of defendants to fair judicial proceedings in Kosovo. KLI through the project in cooperation with CLARD, Fair Trials Europe and Netherlands Helsinki Committee established the Legal Expert Advisory Panel in the Republic of Kosovo (LEAP Kosovo), whom is in the process of its membership to the Fair Trials Europe Legal Expert Advisory Panel (LEAP).