The IRZ has once again hosted members of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo, organising a workshop on anti-corruption, which took place from 6 to 9 September 2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The fight against corruption, along with combating organised crime, is one of the main issues, which the still young Republic of Kosovo continually has to confront. Whilst various mechanisms for tracking different levels of corruption have been introduced and these have been praised in the current EU progress report, corruption still remains a serious problem in many areas of public life. Even though much has already been done to combat corruption in the country, thanks to the Kosovan government’s anti-corruption strategy which is set to continue until 2017, there is still a strong political will to deal with this problem in a comprehensive way and for the time being this remains absolutely essential.

In close consultation with the Kosovan partners, the workshop focussed on the following four themes:

  • Corruption in public state institutions: anti-corruption mechanisms aimed at preventing and fighting corruption,
  • The role of the judiciary in fighting corruption: the Kosovo perspective,
  • The Right to a Fair and Impartial Trial in corruption cases: the case-law of the Constitutional Court and
  • International practices in preventing and fighting corruption with special emphasis on the role of the judiciary.

The speakers for the IRZ were Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg and Dr. Johannes Windisch, Prosecutor General at the Wiener Neustadt Public Prosecutor’s Office in Austria. Dr. Hartwig spoke on the subject of “Assessment of the Fight against Corruption in Kosovo” and “International practices in preventing and fighting corruption with special emphasis on the role of the judiciary”, whilst Dr. Windisch talked about the subjects “Introduction to the legal and institutional framework of the fight against Corruption and Criminal Law in Austria” and “Fight against corruption in Austria – practical issues and case studies”.

With a total of 38 participants, including the Vice-President of the Constitutional Court and the President of the Supreme Court, this year’s workshop was extremely well-attended. As well as judges, expert employees from both courts attended the event, which took place over several days.

It was encouraging to observe a lively exchange of ideas, not just with the speakers, but also between the participants themselves.