Internal and external communication of judicial authorities

Seminar on “Internal and external communication of judicial authorities – the use of social media”, 24-25 October 2023 in Pristina (Kosovo).
Seminar on “Internal and external communication of judicial authorities – the use of social media”, 24-25 October 2023 in Pristina (Kosovo).

The IRZ has been supporting the Kosovo Public Prosecutor's Council (KPC) for several years to address topics around internal and external communication. The press spokespersons of the Kosovo courts have also been actively participating in this exchange since December 2022. Against this backdrop, two workshops on the topic of internal and external communication of judicial authorities were held in Pristina, Kosovo, in October and November 2023.

The aim of these workshops was to strengthen judicial transparency in Kosovo by improving the professionalism and the promotion of active press and public relations work by judicial authorities and thus further strengthen the population's trust in the judiciary In addition, the aim is to extend internal communication and institutional cooperation between the judicial authorities.

The use of social media by judicial authorities

Press spokespersons from the Kosovo Public Prosecutor's Council, Kosovar Public Prosecutors’ Offices and courts discussed the use of social media by judicial authorities during an event held on 24-25 October 2023.

The seminar was led by Ms. Brigitte Koppenhöfer, former Presiding Judge at the Düsseldorf Regional Court, and Ms. Katrin Latki-Baier, PR and communications consultant.

In addition to the fundamental aspects regarding aims, strategies, formats and content, the speakers also discussed the common challenges and dangers associated with the use of social media by public prosecutors and courts. In particular, they addressed how to deal with “fake news” and disinformation on social media, and discussed the civil and criminal aspects of the use of social media with participants and the question of how new technologies and AI will influence press and public relations work of judicial authorities in future.

The event primarily offered participants the opportunity to discuss various topics, exchange experiences and to consolidate what they had learned using numerous examples and practical exercises.

Justice crisis communication

The press spokespersons of Kosovo's courts met again during the following week, on 1-2 November 2023, as part of a workshop on the topic of crisis communication in the judiciary. A tailor-made crisis communication concept was developed during the workshop under the guidance of Ms. Koppenhöfer and Ms. Latki-Baier using the example of a hacker attack on the IT structure of a court.

The joint exchange of expert knowledge and experiences was intensified during the week 13-17 November 2023 as part of a study trip on press and public relations issues in Düsseldorf and Wuppertal. The 10-member delegation took part in media training in addition to expert talks at the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Düsseldorf Local Court, the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Justice and the State Office of Criminal Investigations.


12th EUKOJUST Steering Committee: to be continued?

Zuhörende der Veranstaltung.
Zuhörende der Veranstaltung.

The 12th Steering Committee Meeting of the EU project EUKOJUST was held on 30 October 2023 in Pristina (Kosovo). The IRZ has been conducting this project for over three years in collaboration with the Dutch partner organisation, CILC, and the Croatian Ministry of Justice and Administration.

The meeting was opened by, among others, the Minister of Justice of Kosovo, Ms. Albulena Haxhiu, the Ambassador of Germany, Mr. Jörn Rohde, and the Ambassador of Croatia, Danijela Barisic. The Minister highlighted the important role of the project in the country's ongoing judicial reform and stressed the relevance and usefulness of the work results arising from the project for the institutions, both in terms of numerous legal reforms and the restructuring of the Ministry of Justice or in the area of “access to the judiciary for all population groups”. This appreciation was seconded by the Presidents of the Councils (Judicial Council and Public Prosecutor's Council of Kosovo), Albert Zogaj and Jetish Maloku, and Enver Fejzullahu, Director of the Judicial Academy.

In addition, all the stakeholders renewed their wish to extend the project beyond January 2024, when the project is scheduled to end. We are currently coordinating a cost-neutral extension of the project by a few months with the EU office in Kosovo. A further extension up to the end 2024 is also under discussion, but cannot currently take place because, due to the stalled political dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, measures by the European Union against Kosovo prevent the release of further funds.

The diversity of the EU project's project activities was illustrated by the other items on the agenda this week along with the SCM:

  • 2-day workshop for the staff of the Legal Department of the Prime Minister's Office to finalise the reformed internal regulations on legal harmonisation
  • Working group meeting to draft a new law on administrative court jurisdiction
  • The award of completion certificates to employees of the Ministry of Justice (including the departments for Legislation and EU Integration) for their successful participation in English legal terminology courses at two difficulty levels.

The IRZ, its partners and the project beneficiaries are continuing to work on options to extend the project to ensure it is not terminated in this important phase.

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Expert talk with the Kosovo Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court

Expert conference in cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo on the “Right to a fair trial”, held in Thessaloniki (Greece) on 18-19 July 2023.
Expert conference in cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo on the “Right to a fair trial”, held in Thessaloniki (Greece) on 18-19 July 2023.

The IRZ organised a two-day conference with the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo on 18-19 July 2023 in Thessaloniki on the topic of the “Right to a fair trial”. This joint exchange of expertise and experience should help to promote a uniform understanding of competence and legal opinion between the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court in Kosovo. This format also assisted discussions between the two courts.

15 judges and nine academic staff from both courts therefore met for two days to discuss topics such as the “Right of access to justice”, the “Right to freedom and security” and the “Right to a reasoned decision”.

The President of the Constitutional Court, Ms. Gresa Caka-Nimani, the President of the Supreme Court, Mr. Fejzullah Rexhepi, the Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Mr. Albert Zogaj and the head of the Southeast Europe II/South Caucasus project area, Mr. Frank Hupfeld, opened the conference and in their welcoming words, emphasised the importance of such regular exchanges and a harmonious interaction between the two courts.

For Germany, the IRZ invited Mr. Winfried Schubert, President of the State Constitutional Court of Saxony-Anhalt and former President of the Higher Regional Court in Naumburg to take part in the event, who opened the conference with a keynote speech on the relationship between constitutional courts and supreme courts based on German experiences. 

After introductory presentations by a judge from the Kosovo Constitutional Court and a judge from the Supreme Court, the participants debated intensively and sometimes controversially in three panel discussions about the principles, developments and challenges of the right to a fair trial with reference to case-law in Kosovo. In addition, Mr. Schubert highlighted the topics with respect to German practice and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The two-day expert discussions enabled the participants to benefit from the specialist knowledge and perspectives of their colleagues - flanked by German experiences - and to gain a deeper understanding of both the importance of the right to a fair trial and the fundamental competences and obligations of both courts in the application and interpretation of fundamental rights that are rooted in the constitution.

The event was funded by the Federal Foreign Office as part of the project “Support for several states in the Western Balkans in consolidating rule of law and European standards”.  The exchange between the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo will continue with Albanian counterparts in autumn 2023 to promote dialogue and the exchange of best practices at a regional level.