CorrWatch held a Conference on the topic: “From Transparency to Trust: Solutions in Combating Corruption and Organised Crime at Institutional Level”

December 11, 2023

On December 11, CorrWatch, an Initiative established by the Consortium composed of Group for Legal and Political Studies, Institute GAP and INDEP, held a High-level Conference titled: “From Transparency to Trust: Solutions in Combating Corruption and Organised Crime at Institutional Level”, held in Prishtina. Marking the International Anti-Corruption Day, this event aimed to discuss modalities and solutions that would support institutional efforts in combating corruption and organised crime at institutional level in Kosovo. The conference started with an opening panel composed by the Minister of Justice in Kosovo, Ms. Albulena Haxhiu, British Ambassador to Kosovo, H.E. Mr. Nicholas Abbott, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Agency, Mr. Yll Buleshkaj, the Head of the Agency for Information and Privacy (AIP), Ms. Krenare Sogojeva Dermaku, and under the moderation of the Executive Director of GLPS, Ms. Arberesha Loxha Stublla.

At her opening speech, Ms. Stublla Loxha emphasized the impact of CorrWatch achieved so far, and how the initiative is supporting institutional efforts in multiple areas, including high-level recruitment, public procurement, issuing of licenses, tariffs and permits, public grants provision, and performance of publicly-owned enterprises in Kosovo. “The role of civil society remains essential in fighting corruption and organised crime. For already two years, CorrWatch conducts regular monitoring towards relevant institutions, aiming to increase their accountability and transparence. This way, we support institutions identifying and mitigation potential corruptive behaviour and negative phenomena, while providing practical solutions to tackle these challenges”, she added.

In addition, Ambassador H.E. Abbott emphasized that corruption isn’t only a legal issue, but it is also a moral issue that undermines trust in institutions and economic development. “The projects we support as an embassy are building a culture of transparency. In practice, this means transparency in decision-making; access to information; and the willingness to be accountable for our actions.”, he added. Ambassador Abbott spoke about the support that the British Government provides in combatting corruption and organised crime in Kosovo, including CorrWatch initiative led by civil society. He put emphasis on the significant role that the society plays in increasing institutional transparency and performance, with particular focus on civil society.

On the other hand, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Haxhiu stated that the government’s top priority remains fight against corruption and organised crime. “Our priority is to report all dubious cases at the responsible institution, in this case, the prosecution. So far, 247 cases have been filed and are being handled by the police and prosecution, including those in high-level positions”, she said. “The problem remains with the justice institutions that are lacking willingness to deal with these cases”, she continued. She also added that the Ministry she leads remains fully committed towards combating corruption, while mentioning the new Rule of Law Strategy 2022-2026, and several other legislative initiatives supporting these efforts.

In addition, the Head of Agency for Information and Privacy, Ms. Sogojeva-Dermaku, discussed on the role and performance of the AIP in increasing institutional transparency in Kosovo. “AIP, as an independent institution, has as its primary task the supervision of compliance with the law. With the operationalization since 2021, it has accepted a large number of citizens, where the largest number has been from civil society.”, she added. “Complaints have been different, but the largest number have been about recruitment or procurement procedures.”, she concluded.

Following this, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Agency, Mr. Yll Buleshkaj emphasized that inter-institutional and international cooperation is the basis for success in preventing and fighting corruption. “We should all work together to further strengthen our institutions in law enforcement and higher integrity. There is a clear need for increased inter-institutional coordination so that the results are higher.”, he added.

CorrWatch Conference, 11 December 2023

After the opening panel, the conference continued in a form of a workshop with more than 80 participants gathered from various institutions and organisations. In the first session, Mr. Francisco Cardona (international expert on anti-corruption policies) discussed the prevention of corruption in the Public Sector through the right to information, the reporting of illegality and the importance of whistleblowing. While in the second session focused on the impact of organized crime on public institutions, with Mr. Dardan Koçani (Coordinator for Kosovo in the Global Initiative Against International Organized Crime (GITOC)), thus addressing the level of criminality as well as the sustainability of crime in Kosovo, organized corruption as well as the connection of organized crime with the public and private sector.

Venue: Hotel Emerald, 10000 Pristina, Kosovo.

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