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Kosovo - annual report 2013

Published: May 21, 2014
Länderbericht Kosovo 2013Workshop on the constitutional complaint and on human rights (ECHR) in Pristina

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The Republic of Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008, has now been recognised by the majority of UN Members as an independent state, including by 23 of the 28 Member States of the European Union and by the United States of America. The International Court of Justice found in July 2010 in a report which is not legally binding that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not in breach of international law. Referring to UN Resolution 1244, which leaves open the final status under international law, the European Commission classifies Kosovo as a potential candidate for EU accession. Kosovo so far continues to be denied membership of the United Nations and of many other international organisations. After the 1999 war, Kosovo was placed under the administrative sovereignty of the United Nations (UNMIK). Since the end of 2008, the establishment of rule-of-law structures in a multiethnic state has also been supported by "EULEX Kosovo", EULEX also having, within a certain framework, both mentoring, monitoring and advisory as well as executive powers with regard to the judicial field and the police. The mandate of EULEX 2012 was re-defined with a view to expanding the capacities of the Kosovo authorities, and was extended until June 2014 and reduced in its scope. The monitoring of the independence of Kosovo was ended in September 2012 and the International Civil Representative (ICR) recalled in September 2012, after Kosovo had created the necessary constitutional and legal framework. The EU's current Progress Report for Kosovo shows 2013 to have been a historic year for Kosovo on its path to the European Union. Kosovo has complied with the demands that were made in the feasibility study in October 2012 for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement in the fields of the rule of law, public administration, minority protection and trade. Additionally, relations with Serbia have considerably improved. Negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo have now been commenced. With regard to compliance with the requirements ensuing from a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Kosovo must take further steps, including in the fields of the rule of law, the judiciary, public administration, electoral reform, Parliament, human and fundamental rights, minority protection, trade and the Single Market. In this context, priorities will also have to include the fight against organised crime and corruption, security measures for judicial staff and parties to proceedings, reduction of the case backlog and compliance with provisions of procedural law.

Cooperation to date

The IRZ has headed a number of bilateral and third party-funded projects in Kosovo since 2001. 2013 was typified by intensive bilateral cooperation with the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo, the Law Faculty of the University of Pristina and the Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI). The intensive bilateral cooperation with the KJI was particularly beneficial to the sustainability of the "Legal Education System Reform" twinning project, which was successfully completed in 2012. The further operations for this project will be taken over in 2014 by the third partyfunded project "Further Support to Kosovo Legal Education Reform", which commenced at the end of 2013. The IRZ is the senior partner of this project. Moreover, the implementation of the twinning project "Strengthening International Legal Cooperation" commenced in 2013, and is also managed by the IRZ. Two further twinning projects ("Improving the Approximation of Laws and Coherence of the Legal Framework" and "Strengthening the Correctional and Probation Services in Kosovo") have been in the preparation phase since 2013, and will be commenced in the first half of 2014, with the IRZ as senior partner.

Major partners

Strategy and method

The particularity of the work in Kosovo is that the country is supported by foreign organisations to a degree which threatens to exceed the ability of the project partners there to absorb the activities. For this reason, it is particularly necessary to carefully weigh up the need for each activity before any operation is carried out in order to avert the risk of duplicating effort and cost. Beyond the abovementioned third-party funding and twinning projects, the IRZ is largely continuing projects in the bilateral field with proven partners, such as the Kosovo Constitutional Court, in the planning of which it coordinates with other organisations.

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

Civil and commercial law

Administration of justice

Public law

Basic and further training

Outlook

The IRZ is planning to continue its bilateral collaboration with all its previous partner institutions in 2014. It would like to continue to support the Constitutional Court in establishing a separate constitutional court system in Kosovo. On the basis of seminars implemented in 2013, a guide is to be published for the complaints against violations of rights that are equivalent to fundamental rights and judicial referrals to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo which is to improve the interaction between the Constitutional Court and other courts of Kosovo, in particular the Supreme Court. The IRZ is placing a further focus on cooperation with the Law Faculty of the University of Pristina, as well as on supporting the Bar. Furthermore, the consultation of the Conditional Release Panel at the Kosovo Supreme Court is planned to take place on the topic of "Suspension of sentence on probation".