The Misuse of Statutory Limitations

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On April, 7 “Justice in Kosovo” discussed the misuse of the statutory limitations.

More than 1400 sentenced individuals with prison or fee after the war will not suffer their sentence because the subjects have been statutory limited in the former Municipality Court of Prishtina, from January 2000 until June 2011. Also, the sentenced individuals who were transported with court vehicles, according to the report, did not reach the courts in the country’s correctional centers. The report also shows that 1,200 subjects disappeared completely because the court has not given access to the investigative unit team.

An audit from the Kosovo Judicial Council, which “Justice in Kosovo” has obtained, raises doubts about the 1,400 sentenced individuals who escaped the punishment, and also 230 prisoners have gained freedom under illegal circimstances.

The postponement of a judicial issue, known as the “Death of a case,” happens when the court fails to send the convict to serve the sentence for a particular amount of time. The statutory limitation schedules vary depending on the penal act.

The investigation of KJC lasted two years. It was found out that the Municipality Court of Prishtina has let many cases go exceed the statutory limitation.

According to the report, one of the reasons for statutory limitation of the cases is the fact that they were kept in the judges’ offices and were not sent to the execution office. Another reason is that the sentences were not transformed from to a prison sentence when the convicted person refused to pay the fee.  

Head of KJC, Enver Peci, admits that in particular cases the courts did not stop statutory limitations. Those who are predominantly responsible for the execution of cases are the chief judges, according to Peci.

Former Secretary of the Municipality Court of Prishtina, Makifete Saliuka, who managed this institution for six months, says that she decided to stop statutory limitations which transformed fee sentences to prison sentences.

The report also shows that 238 individuals were sent to the correction centers and have no evidence that they were accepted. Suspicions were raised on whether these individuals were released while being transferred; meanwhile the court considers that they have been sent to prison.

Head of Basic Court of Prishtina, Hamdi Ibrahimi, banned court drivers to drive the sentenced individuals to prison. “Now, the sentenced individuals are sent to prison by the Police of Kosovo or by the Correcting Service,” said Hamdi Ibrahimi.

“We are going to start investigating everything that was found in this report,” said Zef Prendrecaj, Head of Disciplinary Unit of Kosovo Judicial Council. These findings have pushed authorities to suspect that these irregularities occur in other courts too.

According to Peci, audits will be done in the other 13 courts.