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In collaboration with the Kosovo Bar and UNICEF Kosovo, the IRZ conducted a seminar on rights protecting juveniles and legal counsel representing them at all stages of court proceedings on 11 and 12 July 2019. The event was attended by 25 Kosovar lawyers.
Dr. Toralf Nöding, IRZ expert and lawyer from Berlin, kicked off the seminar with an introductory look at practice in the area of German juvenile criminal law using case studies. He addressed general and specific requirements for legal representation of juvenile delinquents by counsel, the work performed by institutions involved in juvenile criminal proceedings and the effective participation of juveniles. Dr. Nöding also described the underlying educative strategy aimed at changing behaviour in all phases of criminal proceedings: in the arrest procedure, police questioning, possibly pre-trial detention, during court hearings, the pronouncement of sanctions and, possibly, subsequent detention.
A further complex of topics focused on guidelines laid down by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for a Child-Friendly Justice and their implementation in EU Directive 2016/800. This Directive incorporates the fundamental principles of justice for children and young persons, such as the best interests of the child and protection against discrimination, as well as the rights of young people, ranging from participation in court proceedings to the right to parental assistance. In this context, Dr. Nöding also explored possible problems that may arise in the course of implementation of the Directive.
The IRZ expert also explained what kinds of communication are in line with the needs of children and adolescents in every phase of the procedure. Finally, he offered the participants some valuable tips in connection with specific situations, drawing on experience from his own legal practice. The seminar was well received by the participants. There was a lively discussion.
The event was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office as an additional contribution to Kosovo's convergence with EU jurisdiction over the long term.
On 16 May 2019, an event was held in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, to celebrate the conclusion of the EU twinning project on “Strengthening policy formulation and legislative drafting” implemented by the IRZ. This event was attended by the Minister of Justice for Kosovo, Abelard Tahiri. During his speech, he underlined the importance of the project for Kosovo’s ultimate goal of entering the EU.
The EU twinning project led on from the successful cooperation between the IRZ and the Kosovan Ministry of Justice, which has been in place since 2009. Since the start of the project in 2016, the IRZ has supported the Ministry in the following areas:
Strategic planning in the justice system,
legal harmonisation and legislation,
the effective implementation of laws and
justice and the media.
100 missions have been carried out on these subjects in the form of workshops, training sessions and consultation visits by 40 short-term experts from five different countries (Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, France and the Netherlands).
Over the past few months, there has been a particular focus on supporting the Ministry of Justice with the “Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector”, a large-scale analysis of the justice sector from the point of view of the EU alignment process.
The close collaboration with the Kosovan Ministry of Justice has resulted, amongst other things, in various draft laws, for example on Private International Law and legal aid for civil law cases. It has also resulted in commentaries on legal aid in criminal cases. Employees at the Ministry of Justice have been trained in specific examples of regulatory impact analysis and ex-post assessment. There has also been a regular exchange of experiences with experts from various European countries on the subjects of communications and public relations.
Even after the twinning project has ended, the IRZ will continue to work with the Kosovan Ministry of Justice in the future and will also continue to support Kosovo in the process of joining the EU.
A seminar on press and publicity work was held in Pristina from 18 to 20 March 2019, in partnership with the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council. The event was targeted at press officers from various public prosecutors’ offices in Kosovo. Taking part on the German side were Wolf-Tilman Baumert, Senior Public Prosecutor and Press Officer at the Wuppertal Public Prosecutor’s Office and freelance journalist Wolfram Lumpe.
As part of its bilateral cooperation with Kosovo, the IRZ has already provided various activities on this subject. The aim of the three-day seminar was to give participants a better understanding of the organisation and structure of press and publicity work and to demonstrate, using practical examples, the ideal format for oral and written communications by and with opinion formers.
The topics of the seminar were:
the objectives of media work,
the interests of media representatives,
the authorities’ responsibilities for press announcements and
the contents of press announcements, taking the procedural situation into account, in particular as far as the presumption of innocence is concerned (investigative proceedings, court proceedings and information about legally-binding decisions in proceedings).
During the seminar, the participants were given the opportunity of working on practical exercises on the individual areas of press and publicity work. To this end, numerous interviews and press conferences were simulated. The objective here was to demonstrate the correct code of conduct in front of the camera and how to give high quality interviews, the practicalities and division of responsibilities at a press conference and how to give a short but informative statement to media representatives.
The experts evaluated all the interviews recorded by the participants and gave them professional feedback. This feedback related to the content as well as to body language. To provide even more clarity on what a press conference is all about and the mistakes to be avoided, the experts showed video clips of successful and unsuccessful press conferences and TV interviews, which they then discussed with the participants.
The participants showed a great deal of interest and said that they found the seminar very enriching and useful for their everyday work. There are plans to organise a follow-up event in June this year.