OSCE: Political influence slows down Kosovo judiciary

Kosovo’s judiciary still fails to meet European and international standards, since it is not fully independent from the executive branch, a newly released OSCE report finds.

The independent functioning of the judicial system in Kosovo still faces a number of shortcomings, and judges continue to work in a difficult environment where threats are made and pressure exerted, finds the report published by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The OSCE’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Werner Almhofer, who presented the results on Tuesday, said that despite improvements resulting from judicial reform in Kosovo, a number of challenges still affect the independent functioning of the justice system.

He said that many positive steps have been made with the adoption of the new legislation on courts, the vetting of judges and the alignment of salaries in the judicial system.

“However, further improvements are needed, especially in ensuring a safe working environment for judges and prosecutors, free from improper and undue interference notably in politically sensitive and high-profile cases,” Almhofer said.

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