The discussion focused on the problems that the justice system is facing in Kosovo as well as other findings from BIRN’s systematic monitoring of 18 municipal and district courts in 14 municipalities in Kosovo.
The round tables were moderated by the executive director of BIRN Kosovo, Jeta Xharra.
In the first round table the following people participated:
Xhemil Elshani, from the municipal court in Prizren,
Besa Krajka, municipal court in Prizren,
Rafet Haxhaj, municipal court in Klina,
Nehibe Reqica, municipal court in Lipjan,
Rifat Abdullahu, municipal court in Ferizaj,
Salih Mekaj, district court in Peja,
Xhelal Radoniqi, municipal court in Peja,
Elmaze Syka, district court in Peja,
Aferdita Mulhaxha, municipal court in Peja,
Hidajete Veseli, municipal court in Peja
While for the second round table participants were:
Haki Demolli, Minister of Justice,
Fejzullah Hasani, chairman of the Supreme Court,
Encer Peci, Head of the Kosovo Judicial Council, KJC
Sami Kurteshi, Ombudsperson,
Enver Nimoni, a law attorney from Peja,
Aishe Berisha, from the Kosovo Justice Council, KJC
Vahide Limani, from the Kosovo Justice Council, KJC
Ismet Kabashi, chief state prosecutor,
Bahri Hyseni, chairman of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in the Assembly of Kosovo,
Valdete Daka, from the Supreme Court,
Gresa Sefaj, from the European Commission.
BIRN monitors presented problems that had been identified throughout the one year monitoring process.
These included the fact that trials were not announced on the court notification boards, the unscheduled assignment of judicial hearings between judges and prosecutors, the beginning of sessions without the full panel being present, the inefficiency of the police in completing warrants, the lack of use of electronic devices in courts, the use of mobile phones during trials and trials being held in the judge’s offices.
The participants of the round tables agreed that the situation in the judiciary in Kosovo is alarming, and that, in general, BIRN’s monitoring report of for 2009-2010 is a clear representation of the situation.
State Chief Prosecutor, Ismet Kabashi, said that we cannot expect credible coverage of the workload with so few prosecutors, while the situation would improve if the numbers were increased.
While referring to the gaps in the system identified during the one year monitoring, the chief prosecutor, Kabashi, promised that he will try to improve the management of the system overall.
Gresa Sefaj, from the European Commission, said that one of the largest investments in the judicial sector has been the installation of the project Information System for Managing Cases, SIML; a system that has been found as inappropriate on the monitoring report for 2008. However, the participants confirmed that the system doesn’t function in any of the courts.
The minister of justice, Haki Demolli, said that he has just started work, but added that he is committed to judicial reforms.
The round table ended with agreement from all participants that despite the difficult working conditions and low wages of judges and court administrators, with greater commitment and higher respect of work obligations, some of the problems and basic irregularities could be resolved, and the efficiency of the Kosovo judiciary could improve without budget increase.