Experts from the Probation and Correctional Service in Kosovo visit Germany

  • Employees of the Probation Service Department with General Director Bajram Bujupi (centre)

    Employees of the Probation Service Department with General Director Bajram Bujupi (centre)

  • Members of the Correctional Service Department with General Director Emrush Thaci (centre)

    Members of the Correctional Service Department with General Director Emrush Thaci (centre)

  • Participants of the study trip

    Participants of the study trip

"Seeing things with your own eyes is better than thousand words" – this was the motto of a study trip to Lower Saxony financed by the Federal Foreign Office and organised by the IRZ. Eleven experts from the correctional and probation service in Kosovo visited judicial institutions in Lower Saxony from 20 to 25 September 2015: The prisons in Oldenburg, Vechta and Wilhelmshaven as well as the Ambulanter Justizsozialdienst Niedersachsen (AJSD) in Oldenburg.

The study trip was organised on the basis of the EU twinning project "Strengthening the correctional and probation services in Kosovo", which is being implemented. The IRZ is implementing this project in cooperation with its French partners.

The delegation from Kosovo was headed by the General Director of the Correctional Service, Emrush Thaci, and the General Director of the Kosovo Probation Service and Out of Prison Measures, Bajram Bujupi. It was complemented by practitioners from the correctional and probation service in Kosovo.

Detailed expert discussions between the practitioners of the two countries quickly developed during the visit of the institutions in Lower Saxony. Some aspects which are standard in Germany's criminal justice have already been implemented in Kosovo as well, however there is still a lot of room for developments.

The guests were particularly impressed by the various work and treatment offers for the prison inmates - this is something which cannot be offered on a large scale so far. Another challenge for Kosovo is the high number of sentences which are suspended on probation in Germany. In Kosovo above all young people are sentenced on probation or to community work. Adult offenders, however, are rarely sentenced to community work. This circumstance leads to a situation that sometimes not dangerous offenders are imprisoned for petty offences in the prisons which are anyway overcrowded in Kosovo.

Kosovo has accepted the challenge of introducing European rules and standards. The experts from Kosovo could gain many inspirations during this study trip and clarify many questions, including questions of detail. The trip was a helpful step into this direction.

Kosovar Minister of Justice visits Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

 Der kosovarische Justizminister Hajredin Kuci und Bundesjustizminister Heiko Maas (rechts)Der kosovarische Justizminister Hajredin Kuci und Bundesjustizminister Heiko Maas (rechts)The Kosovar Minister of Justice, Mr Hajredin Kuci, and the Federal Minister of Justice, Mr Heiko Maas (on the right)

On 29 and 30 June 2015 the Kosovar Minister of Justice, Mr Hajredin Kuci, was invited by the IRZ to visit the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in Berlin. He was received by the Federal Minister of Justice, Mr Heiko Maas.

This visit was preceded by a meeting with the Parliamentary State Secretary Mr Christian Lange which dealt with the future cooperation between the two ministries. In addition an agreement was signed about judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

Minister Kuci was accompanied by two advisors, the Head of the Minister's Office as well as the Kosovar ambassador and his staff member.

Workshop for Kosovar judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court in Budva / Montenegro

  • Dr. Matthias Hartwig; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Karpen; Prof. Dr. Enver Hasani, President of the Constitutional Court; Prof. Dr. Ivan Cukalovic, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court (from left to right)

    Dr. Matthias Hartwig; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Karpen; Prof. Dr. Enver Hasani, President of the Constitutional Court; Prof. Dr. Ivan Cukalovic, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court (from left to right)

  • Scientific staff members of the Constitutional Court

    Scientific staff members of the Constitutional Court

  • Participants of the workshop

    Participants of the workshop

  • Dr. Matthias Hartwig, MPI Heidelberg; Elke Wendland, IRZ; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Karpen, University Hamburg

    Dr. Matthias Hartwig, MPI Heidelberg; Elke Wendland, IRZ; Prof. Dr. Ulrich Karpen, University Hamburg

The IRZ invited members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo to a workshop in Budva/Montenegro from 20 to 23 April, dealing with the following topics:

  • How to encourage referrals to the Constitutional Court by the Supreme Court and other regular courts of the Republic of Kosovo
  • How to increase the awareness of the Supreme Court and other regular courts to file referrals with the Constitutional Court

The workshop in Budva dealt in-depth with similar events the IRZ had successfully carried out in Pristina/Kosovo, Thessaloniki/Greece and Mavrovo/Macedonia in previous years.

The event was very well attended with 36 participants, among them the President and the Vice-President of the Constitutional Court as well as the President and the former President of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was represented almost completely with eleven judges. Five out of seven judges of the Constitutional Court followed the invitation of the IRZ.

The two-day event focused on Article 113 (8) of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. This Article is the core article regarding referrals by the regular courts and the Supreme Court if they are uncertain whether or not a decision is compatible with the Constitution. The Constitutional Court regrets that both the Supreme Court and the regular courts have made very little use of this provision since the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo came into effect in June 2008. From the Constitutional Court's point of view the number of motions filed or referrals of procedures in accordance with this referral provision has fallen far short of expectations.

Professor Ulrich Karpen of the Law Faculty of the University of Hamburg opened the workshop with a comprehensive keynote about the issue of referrals of judgements by the regular courts and the Supreme Court to the Constitutional Court pursuant to Article 113 (8) of the Kosovar Constitution. The following discussions with experts and among the members of the courts were very lively and enriching and productive for both sides.

In his introductory keynote Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg dealt with the problem or the temptation of overextending constitutional decisions. Another issue addressed at this event was the compatibility of Kosovar law and human rights. In this context, comparisons with the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court were made.

As the year before, the discussions were led at a high level. Disagreements between the two institutions were addressed openly. Particularly noteworthy in this context is the strong commitment of the Constitutional Court. The Court members contributed elaborate and superbly presented cases from their own practical work, which complemented the experts' presentations excellently.