Key steps to advance reforms in the area of Rule of Law
Balkans Group has sent a letter to Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu on identified issue areas where interventions and reforms are required in order to improve rule of law in Kosovo. In light of the Balkans Group’s recent publications aimed at examining and analyzing the rule of law sector in Kosovo, a number of recommendations were forwarded to the Minister of Justice.
- All reforms in the judiciary and other rule of law institutions should be launched and framed within the Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector. Systems are tired of successive, partial and uncoordinated reforms; hence inclusive reforms should only be done within one framework. The functional review should be built and implemented at a technical level, with full political backing.
- The Ministry of Justice should lead and take the coordinating role for all new initiatives and programs, including those supported by the EU, the US and other donors. With the Ministry of Justice in the lead, the needs of the reforms and the judiciary should be fully owned locally, with maximum coordination and donor support.
- Do not insist on the Vetting process, at least for judges and prosecutors at this stage.
- Launch programs aimed at increasing administrative capacities of law and order institutions. The Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils in this regard are lagging behind more.
- Within the Functional Review, assess the judiciary’s capacities and needs for at least a period of ten (10) years.
- Launch Integrity Check process, through which the process of performance appraisal and integrity for judges and prosecutors. Within this process relocation and removing those who are incapable or unconscious of doing the job.
- Proceed with early retirement laws for judges, prosecutors, associates administrative professional (but also members of the police).
- Increase the number of prosecutors and judges. Integrity check and early retirement processes would gradually bring about the right balance of needs in the judiciary (their number). Having a greater number of judges and prosecutors over the coming years will it helped to sort out the old stuff and clean up these heavily loaded systems.
- To thoroughly review the performance mechanism for judges and prosecutors.
- Review the status (of the civil servant) for the employees of the Administration of the Judiciary. All its employees must go through a rigorous rating system and for those who pass it concrete training programs need to be designed. This is the segment with the least has been worked so far.
- Establish a sustainable system of hiring paid interns in courts and prosecutors for young professionals.