Delegation from the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council visit Germany

During the period from 25 to 28 October 2016, members of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council visited the North Rhine-Westfalia region of Germany, by invitation of the IRZ, to learn about the structure and organisation of public prosecutor’s offices in Germany and to find out about the cooperation between public prosecutor’s offices and the courts.

The high-ranking Kosovan delegation, which was led by Prosecutor General Aleksander Lumezi, started their visit at the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westfalia region. After the delegation has been welcomed by Dr. Michael Scholz, Head of the International Cooperation division, Dr. Claudia Gotzmann, a judge at the local court, gave a lecture on the following subjects:

  • Authorities under the laws relating to staff matters,
  • Job requirements for public prosecutors (in general) and
  • Disciplinary measures and assessment guidelines.

The guests were particularly interested in German disciplinary law. There was a lively exchange of experiences on issues concerning the responsibility for recruiting and promoting public prosecutors.

The knowledge gained here was expanded still further on a visit to the Prosecutor General’s offices in Düsseldorf that afternoon. After all, the Prosecutor General’s offices are responsible for recruiting public prosecutors in the North Rhine-Westfalia region. Prosecutor General Emil Brachthäuser welcomed the guests in person and gave a lecture on the subjects “Structure of the Prosecutor General’s office” and “Assessing public prosecutors.”

The last port of call for the fact-finding mission was the Higher Regional Court of Cologne on the following day. Here, the Deputy Chairman of the 1st Criminal Division, Dr. Oliver Mertens, and Dirk Schreiner, a judge at the Higher Regional Court and member of the 2nd Criminal Division, provided some interesting insights into the work of the criminal divisions of the higher regional court and the cooperation in this respect with the Prosecutor General's office.

The visit to Germany provided the foreign guests with plenty of valuable inspiration and showed them how important it is to keep informed about practical local conditions, as well as the theoretical framework.

Work meeting with UNICEF Kosovo in Bonn

A meeting was held on 11 October 2016 at the IRZ offices with two representatives of UNICEF Kosovo. This informal meeting served mainly to explore potential opportunities for cooperation between UNICEF Kosovo and the IRZ in the field of young offenders’ institutions.

Attending the meeting on behalf of the IRZ were Franziska Simon, representing Project Section 4, Elke Wendland, the Project Manager responsible for Kosovo, and Stefan Scherrer, Deputy Director of the regional court of Göttingen and an acknowledged expert in juvenile criminal law. Child Protection Officers Afrim Ibrahimi and Ardian Klaiqi accepted the invitation of the IRZ on behalf of UNICEF Kosovo.

Anti-corruption workshop in Thessaloniki

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.