Problems in Kosovo Chamber of Advocates

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On January 13, 2013, “Justice in Kosovo” discussed the problems of the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates.

Among questions discussed were: Why are the lawyers threatening to strike? Why did the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council stop paying lawyers? How many lawyers were faced with disciplinary procedures this year? Why didn’t the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates publish the names of the lawyers who were punished for not doing their job? Why were the lawyers punished with a fee of 300 Euros? Will they lose their licenses?

The interrogation of suspected persons is in risk to be blocked if there is modality found to pay the lawyers who are engaged in interviewing the suspected persons. This threat comes from the lawyers who are working with the police to represent people who do not have the financial resources. According to the Penal Code of Kosovo, when a person does not have financial resources to pay the lawyer, the prosecution bodies engage in a lawyer who is paid by the public found. The payment of lawyers was done by the prosecutorial fund, but prosecution stopped payments 6 months ago and said that the Police of Kosovo should pay lawyers.

Driton Govori, lawyer, says: “After my commitment to the police station, I went to the District Prosecution in Prishtina to ask for the payment, but they told me that from now on the Police of Kosovo will pay the lawyers.”

According to Osman Havolli, Head of Regional Branch of Advocates in Prishtina, “the lawyers who represent their clients in police station are not being paid. The Police of Kosovo says that the lawyers should be paid by the State Prosecution.”

Shkelzen Maliqi, Secretary of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, says: “We have stopped payments for cases where lawyers are engaged without the prosecutor’s permission. Also a part of the payment should be done by the police of Kosovo.” In contrast, a spokesperson for the Police of Kosovo, Baki Kelani, says: “The payment of the lawyers ‘ex officio’ is an issue that belongs to the State Prosecution.” In addition, Baki Kelani did not give any information regarding the case where the lawyers are called without the prosecution’s permission.

According to Ibrahim Dobruna,“If the State Prosecution and the Police of Kosovo do not find a solution, the lawyers will hold a warning strike to warn the institutions.”

Many lawyers have been punished with a fee of 300 Euros because they were not attending the training sessions organized by the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates. 80 lawyers have been punished and if they do not meet the criteria, they will lose their license. The Chamber of Advocates does not give the punished lawyers’ names because of current regulations.