Two-day expert exchange with the Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts of Kosovo and Albania on “Cooperation of Ordinary General Jurisdiction and Constitutional Court Jurisdiction for Safeguarding the Rule of Law” from 18 to 19 May 2022 in Pristina.
Two-day expert exchange with the Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts of Kosovo and Albania on “Cooperation of Ordinary General Jurisdiction and Constitutional Court Jurisdiction for Safeguarding the Rule of Law” from 18 to 19 May 2022 in Pristina.

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The government led by the left-leaning reform movement Vetëvendosje! continued its reform course following the parliamentary elections in early 2021. The government advocated, for instance, following the recommendations of the Venice Commission and laying the foundations for a comprehensive vetting process in the judiciary. Parliament also decided to implement the second phase of the European Reform Agenda (ERA II), which involves the agreement of reform priorities and objectives between the European Union and Kosovo with a view to alignment. Kosovo also applied to join the European Union in December 2022.

The war in Ukraine was a dominant issue for Kosovo as well in 2022. The country also adopted the international sanctions against Russia and Belarus, sending a clear signal that it sees its future in the European Union.

The European Union is yet to implement an important goal, namely the liberalisation of visa rules. Although Kosovo has satisfied all the requirements for a relaxation of entry requirements since 2018, a few EU Member States have blocked visa liberalisation in the past. At the end of 2022, the European Council and the European Parliament agreed that visa liberalisation should enter into force by 1 January 2024 at the latest.

Tensions flared up repeatedly in the relations between Kosovo and Serbia during the reporting year. A dialogue moderated by the European Union is yet to yield agreement on how to normalise relations between the two countries going forward.

Overall Concept

Kosovo is a long-standing partner state for IRZ. Projects are funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Foreign Office and the European Union. These resources are adequate to cover all technical priorities defined by IRZ. Events increasingly returned to a face-to-face format in 2022.

The priorities of projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Federal Foreign Office were primarily in the areas of juvenile criminal law, basic and further training for legal professionals and constitutional law. Together with the Kosovo Academy of Justice, IRZ provided further training to young legal professionals on a variety of topics. In this context, IRZ takes care to ensure sustainable project implementation through long-term partnerships and by ensuring consistency in the content of its project work.

Measures to combat money laundering are also becoming increasingly important as a priority area of cooperation. In this regard, a project funded by the Federal Foreign Office aims to align the legal foundations with international standards and to build networks between the relevant actors.

IRZ succeeded in establishing a regional approach in the area of constitutional law. The two Constitutional Courts and the two Supreme Courts of Albania and Kosovo held a joint session in Pristina.

IRZ organised face-to-face workshops to continue its consultations in the area of public relations with the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council and with representatives of the penitentiary system in the field of addiction support.

Led by IRZ, the extensive and multi-year EU project “EUKOJUST – Kosovo Justice Sector Programme” rounds off IRZ’s cooperation with Kosovo.

Focus of Activity in 2022

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Joint conference of the Constitutional Court with the Supreme Court of Kosovo on the topic of “Specific judicial review proceedings”
  • Regional conference on “The interaction between ordinary and constitutional jurisdiction to uphold the rule of law” in cooperation with the Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts of Kosovo and Albania

Administration of Justice

  • Workshop on “Public relations/handling the media” for members of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Hybrid seminar for the Kosovar probation service, judiciary and public prosecutor’s office on the topic of “Imposing measures and punishments on minors”
  • “Train the trainer” workshop for the staff of the penitentiary system in Kosovo on the topic of “Basic and further training in the area of addiction support”.
  • Consulting on the prevention and prosecution of money laundering (ongoing assessment of legal provisions and development of a recommended course of action by a German team of experts)
  • Commentary on the bilateral transfer treaties with Italy and Turkey as well as the bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty with Switzerland by a German team of experts
  • Translation and printing of the commentary on bilateral agreements for cooperation in criminal law

Basic and Further Training

  • Hybrid seminar on the topic of “Corporate insolvency” in cooperation with the Kosovo Academy of Justice
  • Hybrid seminar on the topic of “Combating money laundering” in cooperation with the Kosovo Academy of Justice
  • Study trip to Bonn for prospective judges and public prosecutors in cooperation with the Kosovo Academy of Justice

Project funded by the European Union

EU Grant Project “EUKOJUST” (Kosovo Justice Sector ­Programme)

The EUKOJUST project aims to consolidate Kosovo’s judicial system in many areas, make it more accessible and align the legal framework with European standards. Together with the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC/Netherlands) and the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of Croatia, IRZ is currently in the implementation phase of this 40-month project, which is endowed with funding of €7 million. The project is expected to end in January 2024.

It is divided into the following four thematic areas:

  1. Improvement of cooperation and coordination among judicial actors, in particular between the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Council and the Prosecutorial Council
  2. Strengthening and further training of the legal professions in cooperation with the Academy of Justice and the councils
  3. Alignment and consolidation of the legal framework
  4. Access to justice for all groups of the Kosovar population

In total, 61 events (workshops, further training courses, round table discussions) were held within the framework of the project during the 2022 reporting year, reaching around 800 people. Analyses, draft laws, expert opinions, recommendations and comparable papers were also prepared or their implementation accompanied. As a result, the project stakeholders made significant progress in implementing the project plans, such as

  • improvement in the cooperation between the various actors in the judicial sector, especially between the executive and the judiciary, in the form of regular joint strategy and technical meetings
  • preparation of a roadmap for comprehensive reorganisation of the Ministry of Justice (restructuring of departments, internal organisation, work flows, job profiles) to increase the efficiency of work, also in times of staff shortages
  • development of a strategy for the Academy of Justice and support in revising the training curricula
  • monitoring report on the nationwide process to recruit new public prosecutors in 2021
  • support for the Kosovo Judicial Council in establishing a national centre for data protection within the judiciary to safeguard against disasters and cyber-attacks
  • drafting of key methodological documents on legal approximation, including a manual on legal approximation, administrative provisions and a manual on the standards of drafting legal acts
  • expert opinions on numerous draft laws, including the Administrative Code and the Draft Law on State Bureau for the Verification and Confiscation of Unjustified Property
  • expert opinions on procedural guarantees under criminal law
  • support of the regional offices for victim protection and assistance: mentoring and advice, conclusion of a memorandum with civil society organisations as the basis of a “Friends of the Academy Network”, comprehensive further training for staff at the offices
  • recommendations and planning on information campaigns and public relations for the National Coordinator against Domestic Violence
  • manual and code of ethics for court interpreters to ensure equal access to justice for all population groups in Kosovo


IRZ will continue and expand its intensive and fruitful cooperation with its partner institutions in Kosovo in 2023.

IRZ will again provide strong support to key institutions such as the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and enable important platforms for the exchange of expertise and experience, as well as for the formation of networks. There are also plans to move forward with the programmes in the established cooperation with the various departments of the Kosovo Ministry of Justice, the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC) and the Academy of Justice. The thematic focus of previous years on juvenile criminal law, public relations in the judicial system and the basic and further training of judges and public prosecutors is therefore scheduled to continue in 2023. The area of measures to combat money laundering will be added to these priorities.

Please find the Annual Report 2022 here: Media centre – Annual reports.