GLPS held a Roundtable Discussion on the Rule of Law Priorities of the New Government

April 20, 2021

Ministry of Justice in Kosovo

On April 20, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) organized a Roundtable Discussion on the topic: “Rule of Law in Kosovo: What are the priorities of the new government”, held in Prishtina. The aim of this event was to discuss on the justice system in Kosovo, challenges and the way forward. Special focus was put on the vetting process which is now perceived as indispensable in order to ensure integrity and independence of the justice sector in Kosovo. In addition, a number of other reform processes were discussed as well.

Minister Haxhiu was the first to address the audience. During her speech she emphasized some of the key priorities that the Ministry she leads plans to focus on during this mandate. Listing the priorities, Minister Haxhiu stressed the inevitable need for a vetting process in the justice system, drafting the law on confiscation of the illicit wealth, approving and implementing the Functional Review of the Justice Sector, strengthening of institutional mechanisms dealing with war crimes, as well as the enforcement of the legislative framework on domestic violence.  Further, she made it clear that vetting will be a long process and in this regard, the confiscation of illegally acquired wealth cannot wait for the vetting to end in order to start implementation. According to the Minister, among the essential fundamentals of the rule of law is the responsibility before the law for the illegally acquired wealth, which as such will be confiscated by a court decision and in no other way.

On the other hand, Mr. Krasniqi emphasized the importance of separation of powers. He stated that it remains crucial for the government to strongly engage in reforming policy processes that directly contribute in improving the rule of law in Kosovo. Twenty years after war in Kosovo, we ended up with a captured state, corrupted politicians and judiciary, all leading to extreme poverty, he added. This also resulted with lack of foreign direct investments in Kosovo, due to state’s constant failure to ensure a proper doing business environment, and a functioning economy. As for war crimes, he declared that Kosovo institutions failed to ensure proper documentation of these crimes and there is no proper database in place that documents crimes committed during that time. Thus, he recommended the new government to set up and enforce proper mechanisms that will properly document what happened during the war in Kosovo.

Ms. Hoxha Zhuja from GLPS said that the need for a substantial and in-depth reform for the rule of law sector through vetting is indispensable. According to her, what is important to be discussed at this point is the format and aspects that should be vetted, which will be the mechanism that will vet the justice sector, and how to ensure a credible reform. In addition, she also stated that the vetting should include security institutions as well, such as the police, tax administration, and other relevant institutions to the sector.

Ms. Albulena HAXHIU – Minister of Justice in Kosovo;

Mr. Besnik KRASNIQI – Journalist, Koha Group;

Ms. Rreze HOXHA ZHUJA – Research Fellow, Justice Today Platform, GLPS;

Ms. Njomza ARIFI –Programme Manager, GLPS.

Venue: Hotel Sirius (Str. Agim Ramadani, 10000 Prishtina, Kosovo).

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