Support to the inter-institutional coordination mechanism, support to the establishment of working groups for the evaluation, outset and drafting of legal initiatives, support to strengthening the capacities of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC), Kosovo Judicial Council (KJK) and Kosovo Justice Academy (KJA), were some of the achievements presented at the 13th meeting of the Steering Committee of the EUKOJUST project, held on January 31 in Pristina.
The new Chair of the Prosecutorial Council of Kosovo, Ardian Hajdaraj and EUKOJUST Team Leader Mr. Volkmar Theobald, co-chaired the regular meeting where the achievements of the project during January-December 2023 were presented. Also present at the meeting were the Deputy Minister of Justice, Vigan Qorolli, the Kosovo Judicial Council Chair, Mr. Albert Zogaj, Deputy Chief State Prosecutor, Mr. Agron Qalaj, President of the Supreme Court, Fejzullah Rexhepi, Director of the Kosovo Justice Academy, Enver Fejzullahu, Head of the Legal Office of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mentor Borovci, EUKOJUST Project Director from IRZ Ms. Teresa Thalhammer, as well as Mr. Nicola Scaramuzzo from the EU Office in Kosovo.
During the joint presentation, Theobald and EUKOJUST experts presented the project’s achievements during the three-month reporting phase. During this period, the project featured the support to the inter-institutional coordination mechanism and its stakeholders (Ministry of Justice, Justice Academy, Kosovo Judicial Council, Kosovo Prosecutorial Council) in order to enhance their capacities for systematic and sustainable coordination of the entire Justice system and the rule of law, and treatment of the essential reforms in the sector in Kosovo according to the approved Rule of Law Strategy.
In addition, the project has supported the working groups established as per the decision of the Ministry of Justice for the establishment of six (6) working groups for the assessment, conception and drafting of legal initiatives, initiatives for promotion of integrity mechanisms in the Government sector. Law, provided for in the Joint Declaration of Commitment. This declaration called “Declaration on Justice Reform” was signed by all the heads of justice institutions in the spring of 2023.
EUKOJUST continued to provide support in strengthening the capacities of KPC, KJC and KJA in management, administration, human resources and planning of the judicial and prosecutorial system to ensure independence, impartiality, accountability, professionalism and better transparency of the judiciary.
During this reporting period, the project sustained its contribution to improving access to justice for all in Kosovo, especially for women, ethnic minorities, juveniles, persons with disabilities and vulnerable, marginalized and underrepresented groups. Strengthening free legal aid mechanism, improving access to jurisprudence and legislation in non-majority languages, and strengthening the free legal professions according to the strategy against domestic violence and the Rule of Law Strategy, ensuring its implementation.
In addition, the project continued to provide significant capacity-building activities for a range of rule of law stakeholders, focusing on domestic violence, gender-based violence, human rights and vulnerable people and marginalized groups.
In terms of the legislative framework, during this period EUKOJUST has supported its beneficiaries in drafting of four (4) primary legislations, including the Draft Law on Administrative Court, the Draft Law on Administrative Disputes, the Draft Omnibus Law on Harmonization of Special Laws, and the Law on Special Chamber of the Supreme Court for Matters Related to Privatization, as well as the Concept Document for Civil Unions. The project has supported its beneficiaries in drafting seven (7) by-laws.
The support to drafting of five (5) reports with recommendations for different areas of the justice sector and nine (9) manuals, was also provided. The project further supported fourteen (14) technical documents such as strategies, action plans, technical specifications and Standard Operating Procedures.
Regarding capacity building, experts prepared and updated six (6) training programs and materials to support justice reform in line with EU best practices.
The purpose of the EUKOJUST project is to support justice sector in Kosovo and improve the quality of justice for the citizens of Kosovo on its path towards the EU. The project further aims to support Kosovo in reforming the justice system according to European and international standards and to prepare its institutions for the EU membership process by providing expertise and high-level technical assistance for the entire justice sector in Kosovo.