Kosovo Still Short on Rule of Law, EULEX Report

Kosovo institutions have achieved a good deal since 2008, but progress is still needed in the field of the rule of law, the 2012 EULEX report says.The latest report takes stock of the work done by European Union mission in Kosovo, EULEX and its Kosovo counterparts since the launch of the mission in 2008.

A good deal of progress has been made by Kosovo police in terms of sustainability, accountability, freedom from political interference and multi-ethnicity, including compliance with European best practice and internationally recognized standards, it says.Kosovo Police in charge of the border have faced the biggest challenges since the start of the EULEX mandate, it says, adding that much needs to be done in order to ensure proper border management.

The report notes the lack of formal International Border Management agreements with neighbouring countries, which affects the efficiency of border control.

In justice, the EULEX report notes some serious weaknesses by District Courts and District Prosecution Offices.

EULEX assessed the infrastructure available for judges in District Courts as insufficient. It also raises concerns with respect to access to justice and with reference to trials conducted in offices, which renders the participation of the public almost impossible.

Witness protection measures were not considered as effective in Kosovo’s close-knit society as elsewhere, while the limited technical knowledge of the local judiciary was another obstacle preventing the exercise of protective measures and conditions for anonymity.

The report also notes that the Kosovo Police and Kosovo prosecutions have not institutionalized their cooperation, which negatively effects the working of the legal system.

The EULEX report also recognized Balkan Investigative Reporting Network’s reports on court monitoring as one of the most accurate sources of information on legal practices in Kosovo.

The mission stressed the need to enhance communications to address concerns and improve official accountability towards the Kosovo Serb community.

In the upcoming two years, EULEX’s work will focus on four key operational objectives, the report says.

These are: (i) monitoring, mentoring and advising rule of law institutions, (ii) executive functions, (iii) re-establishment of the rule of law in the Serb-run north and (iv) support for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

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