Interactive seminar on European perspectives of Human Rights protection

On 30 and 31 March 2017, Professor Dr. Jan Bergmann, the Presiding Judge at the Higher Administrative Court of Baden-Wurttemberg, gave a lecture on “European Human Rights Protection under ECHR and CFREU” to expert employees of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo in Pristina.

The objective of the seminar, which was financed by funds from the German Federal Foreign Office, was to hold an interactive discussion with participants on European perspectives of Human Rights protection and to practise legal work based on selected cases and case solutions.

Professor Bergmann started the two-day seminar with a vivid presentation of the theory behind human rights and individual human rights categories. He then went on to present test schemes, which are used to solve cases involving the violation of rights to freedom and justice and of the fundamental right to equality and are basic tools for law professionals. Using interesting examples taken from the current case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the participants worked intensively on the case solutions.

On the second day of the seminar, there was a short introduction to the protection of Human Rights at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the protection of fundamental rights in the European Union. The area of application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EU CFR) was also discussed. As on the previous day, the participants were once again called upon to work interactively on case solutions based on the current case law of the ECJ. A high level of expert discussions resulted from this work on individual cases.

First Steering Committee meeting for the twinning project in Kosovo

The first Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) for the EU funded twinning project “Strengthening policy formulation and legislative drafting” was held at the Kosovan Ministry of Justice in mid February 2017. The existing cooperation and future objectives were discussed at the meeting.

Attending the SCM were Kosovan, German and EU project managers, as well as employees of the IRZ and of the Kosovan Ministry of Justice. During the meeting, positive comments were made in particular about the opening event held in November 2016 and the contributions already made by German experts from the judiciary in Pristina. The potential for more effective cooperation between project managers and all the institutions involved in the project was also discussed.

These meetings take place at the end of each project quarter. They serve not only to ensure that project objectives are reached and thereby guarantee the ongoing implementation of the project, but also to improve coordination between the parties involved.

This project is being led by the IRZ. Its main objective is to support the Kosovan Ministry of Justice and its subordinate institutions as they strengthen their skills in policy formulation and legislation. This includes the drawing up of political policy documents and draft legislation. The twinning project is therefore subdivided into the following four components:

  • Development of policy-making expertise
  • Support with forming a closer relationship with the EU and legal structuring
  • The effective implementation of legislation
  • Justice and Public Relations.

High-ranking Kosovan delegation make a study visit to learn about legal training in Berlin and Brandenburg

During the talks at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Justice: Besim Morina (left), Managing Director of the Academy of Justice, and Lavdim Krasniqi, Director of the Prosecutional Council Secretariat

During the talks at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Justice: Besim Morina (left), Managing Director of the Academy of Justice, and Lavdim Krasniqi, Director of the Prosecutional Council Secretariat

From 13 to 17 February 2017, eight important representatives from the Kosovan justice system made a study visit to Berlin and Brandenburg:

  • Fejzullah Hasani, President of the Supreme Court,
  • Aleksander Lumezi, Public Prosecutor General,
  • Nehat Idrizi, Chairman of the Council of Judges,
  • Blerim Isufaj, Chairman of the Council of Public Prosecutors,
  • Ymer Hoxha, President of the Managing Board of the Kosovo Judicial Institute,
  • Vaton Durguti, President of the Court of Gjakova,
  • Lavdim Krasniqi, Director of the Prosecutional Council Secretariat and
  • Besim Morina, Managing Director of the Academy of Justice.

This high-ranking delegation wanted to familiarise themselves with education and further training in the German justice system. The visit was organised and supervised by an EU-funded twinning project, which the IRZ is currently leading at the Kosovan Academy of Justice along with its Dutch counterpart, the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC): “Further Support of Legal Education Reform”.

The Kosovan guests started by visiting the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. Also on the programme:

  • Extensive informative discussions on the organisation of legal internships at the Law Students Examination Authority (Justizprüfungsamt) for the Berlin and Brandenburg regions,
  • A visit to the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Justice and the German Judicial Academy and
  • Informative discussions on HR development at the Higher Regional Court of Berlin and at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Berlin.

Overall, the study visit helped to provide the Kosovan participants with an insight into some of the specific features of legal training in Germany, which could also be adapted in such a way that they can play a role in the transition from Judicial Institute to Academy of Justice in Kosovo:

  • The prominent significance of the (higher regional) courts in defining legal internships,
  • The strong orientation of internships towards practice and procedural experience,
  • The special role played by examinations (second state exam) and examination offices, and
  • The importance of Academies of Justice as joint centres of learning and meeting places, in which teaching and practice come together.

The twinning project team at the Kosovan Academy of Justice would like to thank all those who made this study visit possible, in particular the President of the Law Students Examination Authority (Justizprüfungsamt) for Berlin-Brandenburg, Martin Groß, who played a very important role here.