Round table and lectures on constitutional law in Pristina

A round table, mediated by the IRZ, was held on the morning of 29 November 2016 between members of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo, followed in the afternoon by lectures at the Law Faculty of the University of Pristina.

The IRZ were once again able to attract Professor Rainer Arnold from the University of Regensburg and Nevila Saja, MA graduate from the University of Regensburg, to both events.

The German guests were warmly welcomed to the Constitutional Court of Kosovo by its President, Arta Rama-Hajrizi, her deputy, judge Ivan Cukalovic, and judge Selvete Gerxhaliu. The informal round table discussions served mainly to exchange thoughts and sound out topics concerning the continuation of the until now very successful cooperation between the IRZ and the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.

In the afternoon, there followed lectures for masters students at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pristina. Having been welcomed by the Dean of the faculty, Professor Dr. Haxhi Gashi, and the Vice-Dean, Professor Iliriana Islami, Professor Arnold began the series of lectures on the subject “Common Tendencies of Constitutional Law in Europe”. This was followed by a lecture on the “Integration of refugees in Germany – current situation and perspectives” by Nevila Saja. The students showed a keen interest in the lectures, making their own contributions and asking questions. The afternoon for masters students was moderated by Professor Enver Hasani, former president of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.

To continue the successful and valuable cooperation, various bilateral measures are also planned for 2017 with these established partners of the IRZ.

New twinning project in Kosovo: "Strengthening policy formulation and legislative drafting"

The EU twinning project “Strengthening policy formulation and legislative drafting” was launched on 16 November 2016 in Priština. The IRZ is managing this project, which will run for 24 months, together with the Kosovan Ministry of Justice. The project builds on the results of previous twinning projects and is a continuation of the successful cooperation with the Ministry.

The aim of the project is to improve skills in drafting policy documents and proposals for legislation. The need for this to take place was established from the fact that, in spite of all the progress made by the justice system in Kosovo, there is still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to technical issues in the legislation process. The current practice of introducing frequent changes to the law needs to be replaced by proactive political planning geared towards sustainability and compatibility.

The new twinning project also took on new significance for Kosovo with the signing of the Stability and Association Agreement with the EU, which came into force on 1 April 2016 and should lead to further far-reaching reforms in the legal system, as well as in other areas. A reliable legal system should also help to improve the economic situation in the country.

Twinning project relating to correctional and probation services successfully completed

The EU Twinning Project “Strengthening the correctional and probation services in Kosovo” implemented by the IRZ in partnership with the French junior partner Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI) was successfully completed on 3 November 2016 in Pristina.

The legal situation in the correctional and probation services in Kosovo already meets European standards, there are, however, still deficits in the practical application of the laws.

This twinning project was therefore aimed at making a specific and sustained contribution to the further development of the correctional service in Kosovo, supporting the work of the probation service within the judiciary and improving its image in the general public, thus providing a real alternative to the traditional correctional service.

A project term of 24 months with more than 100 local expert assignments produced the following positive results, among others:

  • 25 implementation and administrative regulations relating to the penal law of Kosovo to enhance the application of the laws, which have almost entirely been adopted and enacted;
  • a strategy for the execution of penal sanctions including an action plan commissioned by the Ministry of Justice of Kosovo (Strategy for execution of penal sanctions 2016 – 2020);
  • round table discussions with members of the probation service, lawyers, the police and judges in all regions of Kosovo to promote alternative sanctioning forms (e.g. probation, community work);
  • revision of the training syllabus for prison officers;
  • participation in drafting the documents for accrediting a study course at a university of applied sciences for the higher correctional service;
  • modern organisational and managerial concepts for prisons;
  • evaluation of the means for prisoners to file complaints;
  • training for managerial staff and other key persons in prisons based on the ”UN Prison Incident Handbook“ for dealing with extraordinary situations observing human rights;
  • translation of the mentioned handbook into the national language;
  • development, and initial test run in pilot projects, of management and treatment programms for the probation service and prisons;
  • alignment of the probation and correctional services’ data bases for a consistent offender management. In this context, active support was provided in the determination of requirements, tendering and procurement of computers and software with a volume of approx. € 300,000.
An outstanding feature of this project was its practised European cooperation. In contrast to many other EU projects experts from France, Germany, Spain and Romania were working in mixed teams at the respective places in Kosovo and have jointly organised training sessions and seminars for their partners from Kosovo. Usually, expert teams cooperate in projects of the same countries of secondment or the project partners only cooperate in the components assigned to them. It is the way this project was handled that we imagine the future Europe!