Kosovo’s Judicial Institutions scored 43.7% on indicators on openness

In co-operation with partners of Balkan network of non-governmental organizations ACTIONSEE, Open Data Kosovo (ODK) has conducted a public policy analysis that measures the level of transparency, openness, and accountability of the justice system in Kosovo and Western Balkan countries.

During the period from October to December 2016, members of the “ACTIONSEE” network and Open Data Kosovo worked on a detailed research based on scientific methodology through which was analyzed the level of judicial and prosecution openness to citizens. Criteria that measure the openness is mainly focused on four areas: Accessibility, Efficiency, Integrity and Transparency.

The institutions included in the evaluation are the Court of Appeals, the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Kosovo, the Basic Court of Gjakovë/Djakovica, the Basic Court of Mitrovica, the Basic Court of Pejë/Peć and the Kosovo Judicial Council; from the Prosecutor’s Office, the Prosecutorial Council, the Public Prosecutor’s Offices and the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor.

Kosovo Judicial Institutions are ranked in the 4th place in the Western Balkans with 43.7% of the indicators met, while the courts of Serbia (35.5%) and Albania (33.4%) are worse than Kosovo courts. However, the Kosovo Judicial Council is less accessible among all Judicial Councils in the Western Balkans region.

The main problems were observed in the absence of the principle of random assignment of cases. If the courts do not properly organize the assignment of cases, the public may have the impression that judges are bias and that their interests are present in their work. Secondly, there is no public appeal mechanism that would enable citizens to file complaints in regard to the work of judges and civil servants. Thirdly, public procurement Transparency and budget Transparency are the main obstacles for a better performance of Kosovo in relation to other Western Balkan countries.

The data collected for the Prosecutor’s Office suggest that although the Kosovo prosecution is not the weakest in the Western Balkans region. The Kosovo Prosecutorial Council leans towards the regional center in terms of its performance; it fulfills 44.8% of the measured indicators. This is followed by the Prosecutorial Councils of Macedonia (38.2%) and Albania (11.2%), but remains behind the Prosecutorial Councils of Serbia (55.6%), Bosnia (66.9%) and Montenegro (67.8%).

The fact that the Prosecutor’s Office faces serious challenges across the Western Balkans region is reflected in Kosovo by taking third place despite meeting only 36.7% of the relevant criteria. Macedonia (25.7%), Serbia (25.3%), and Albania (0.8%) all stand behind Kosovo. Bosnia and Montenegro are ahead of the group with a large margin, with 63.6% and 73.8%. The assessment of the Prosecutor’s Office includes basic prosecutions in Ferizaj/Urosevac, Gjakovë/Djakovica, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Peja/Pec and Prizren.

The most common problems that violate international standards and reporting principles in criminal proceedings are: unilateral reporting of the media, breach of privacy and the presumption of innocence, “information leak” by the prosecution and police, publication of confidential information during the investigation phase, etc.

You can find the document with a situation analysis as well as improvement recommendations here.