British Ambassador to Kosovo Ruairí O’Connell launched a major new rule of law project this week, at public events with the Minister of Justice and the Chairs of the Kosovo Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils (KJC and KPC).
The British Embassy in Pristina is committed to strengthening the capacities and role of the Kosovo Ministry of Justice (MoJ), KJC and KPC. This project will provide support to Kosovo’s ongoing Judicial Functional Review. The project will begin with an impartial analysis of accountability and integrity in the justice sector and will provide four legal experts to work within the MoJ.
The project also demonstrates the UK’s commitment to strengthening the capacities and roles of the KJC and KPC. Once British experts have identified the most pressing issues and challenges facing these Councils, the project implementers will work with them to prepare action plans to address these issues efficiently.
Our implementer will also monitor new processes for the recruitment of judges and appointment of senior judicial officers and provide a tailored mentoring and training programme to selected judges, including exposure to UK best practice in fighting money laundering and organised crime, and prosecuting and adjudicating high profile corruption cases. We expect that these activities will contribute to a stronger Kosovo justice system, able to challenge corruption and impunity and effectively adjudicate serious cases.
At the launch event with Minister of Justice, the Ambassador said:
The time has come for Kosovo to be and feel responsible for the rule of law in Kosovo. Full responsibility lies with you. This is a significant and very necessary task for Kosovo and also for Kosovo’s partners, including the UK… Having a strong structure, full political will and powerful support is the only way to fight the negative phenomena that affect Kosovo, as well as Europe… Anything that violates the integrity of the system will also affect the results. This is Kosovo’s responsibility, but I believe there are people within the system that will become heroes of Kosovo.
At the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding with the KJC and KPC, Ambassador O’Connell said:
Kosovo needs a strong partner, like the United Kingdom. I am truly happy today to launch our “Strengthening the Judicial and Prosecutorial Systems of Kosovo” project, which will be implemented, in co-operation with you, by the British Implementer Axiom International. Axiom has the expertise, knowledge and experience to support you. We look forward to working with you, with the two Councils, identifying priorities, drafting action plans, and implementing them efficiently. The role of the KPC and KJC is essential to the proper functioning of the justice system. We have a common goal. We want the KJC and KPC to be empowered and to have a strong voice.
Minister of Justice, Abelard Tahiri said:
Today we are closing the first phase of the largest rule of law reform, and we are now beginning the second phase with a new project supported by the British Embassy… By the end of 2020 we aim to have a justice system that does not face the problems and challenges that it is facing now.
KJC Chair, Nehat Idrizi said:
The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding shows the continuation of our joint efforts to strengthen judicial capacities, in particular the needs of the KJC further to advance the recruitment system for judges, the importance of judicial training programs, as well as judicial capacity to fight organised crime and high profile corruption offences.
KPC Chair, Blerim Isufaj, said:
The project will support the Council in the transparent, professional and meritocratic recruitment of Prosecutors and provide expertise in increasing transparency and efficiency of the prosecutorial system. Furthermore, the Project aims to strengthen the professional skills, integrity and self-confidence of Prosecutors through specialised training programs. The Prosecutorial Council is open for co-operation, being confident and emphasising that the Embassy is not coming with a project that imposes ready-made solutions, but addresses the needs of the KPC where these needs meet the objectives of the Project.