The beginning of 2013 will mark the starting of the judicial system reforms in Kosovo. The law on courts published in the Official Gazette on August 24, 2010, has foreseen some changes in the organizational structure of courts. The same law foresaw that some articles dealing with restructuring will enter into force on January 1, 2013.
All minor offense courts, the municipal and district courts will be merged into a single one – basic court. There will be only one Appeal Court and one Supreme Court, both of them with headquarters in Prishtina.
In total there will be seven basic courts. All these courts will have three departments:
- The department of serious crimes
- The general department
- The juvenile department
The basic court in Prishtina will be the exception, which, in addition of the above mentioned departments, will also have the department of administrative issues as well as economic issues. So far, cases that have come from these fields have been heard in the Supreme Court.
The Appeals Court will be the second instance court with territorial jurisdiction throughout the Republic of Kosovo. The head office of the appeal court will be in Prishtina. Meanwhile the Supreme Court, which simultaneously is the highest judicial instance in Kosovo and has jurisdiction over the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo, will also be based in Prishtina.
The main challenge of these reforms is expected to be the lack of adequate facilities for courts.
Regarding to this, the head of Judicial Council, Enver Peci said “we hope that the current situation will be improved by the end of 2013, because until then the palace of justice will be built”.
The innovation of the reform of the judicial system will be the dismissal of lay judges.
According to Peci, this happened due to the professional judgments and also because of the fact that “the usefulness of these judges has been very small.”
This reformation of judicial system has left a specific space for the Supreme Court.
The head of this court, Fejzullah Hasani said that the Supreme Court will play exactly its role, same as all countries around the world do.