Delegation of the Kosovan Ministry of Justice visiting Berlin

From 30 November to 4 December 2015, a delegation of five members of the Kosovan Ministry of Justice visited the German capital. The high-ranking visitors were headed by State Secretary Eset Rama.

The programme included a full-day visit of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, BMJV. At the BMJV, the delegation had intensive expert discussions about the implementation of the Treaty on Mutual Assistance between Germany and Kosovo, which had been signed in June this year. The discussions covered the fight against corruption as part of the international cooperation in criminal matters, legislative procedures and the drafting of law texts.

Further highlights of the visit to Germany were an expert talk with members of the German-Southeast European Parliamentary group of the German Bundestag as well as a visit of the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau. The Academy's director, Dr. Stefan Tratz, lead through the programme which covered the organisation and working methods of the German Judicial Academy.

The one-week working visit took place as part the bilateral cooperation between the IRZ and the Republic of Kosovo and was financed by the German Foreign Ministry.

Kosovo-German Seminar on Fighting Corruption

The first seminar on "Fighting Corruption" was held by invitation of the IRZ in Pristina on 26 and 27 November 2015. Eradicating corruption is one of the conditions for Kosovo's entry to the EU.

Speakers at the bilateral seminar included, from the German side, Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg and Helmut Leithäuser, Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Wuppertal. From Kosovo, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency, Hasan Petreni, and the coordinator of the fight against corruption at the Public Prosecutor's Office, Shqipdon Fazliu, agreed to contribute to the seminar with news of the current situation from the Kosovan point of view.

Dr. Hartwig opened the seminar with a keynote speech providing an overview of how corruption can arise in government, business and society. Helmut Leithäuser added to this lecture with a descriptive report on the daily work of a presiding judge at a major court dealing with cases of commercial law.

During the seminar, a lively discussion started up as to whether existing anti-corruption laws in Kosovo are in fact sufficient, when Kosovo is currently ranked 110 on the Transparency International corruption index. As a result of this meeting, it was established that Kosovo has managed to introduce the legal foundations for combating corruption in the country. The question remains, however, as to whether the existing laws are sufficient and whether they are strictly enforced.

Participants in the seminar, which was financed by funds from the German Federal Foreign Office, mostly included judges from the Supreme Court, research staff from the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and staff from the Kosovo Ministry of Justice.

Delegation from the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo in Karlsruhe

A twelve-person delegation from the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Republic of Kosovo was invited to visit the Federal Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe from 19 to 23 October 2015.

The guests, made up of five judges from each of the courts, as well as the President of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, Arta Rama-Hajrizi, and the President of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, Fejzullah Hasani, learned about the internal structure of both German Federal institutions and how they operate. The expert discussions focussed on the role of the German Federal Constitutional Court as a guardian of the constitution and the constitutional protection of human rights.

The expert discussions at the Federal institutions were rounded off with visits to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg and the regional Constitutional Court (Staatsgerichtshof) in Wiesbaden. At the ECtHR, an informative exchange took place with Ledi Bianku, the judge for Albania at the ECtHR, on current cases and the European Convention on Human Rights. With Dr. Günter Paul, President of the Constitutional Court for the Hesse region in Wiesbaden, the delegation was able to find out about the tasks and responsibilities of a regional Constitutional Court (Staatsgerichtshof) and the relationship between this and the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht).

All of the visits featured some very interesting speeches by the hosts, followed by some lively expert discussions.

The visit from the delegation from Kosovo took place as part of the bilateral cooperation between the IRZ and the Republic of Kosovo and was financed by the Federal Foreign Office