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Experts: Kosovo's legal framework complies with CoE standards, but concerns about implementation

2023-11-29 22:51:49, Kosova & Bota CNA

Experts: Kosovo's legal framework complies with CoE standards, but concerns

Independent experts of the Council of Europe say that the legislation of Kosovo meets the standards of the Council of Europe for the rule of law, but they demand from Kosovo the establishment of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority, the implementation of the decision of the Constitutional Court on the properties of the Monastery of Deçan , respecting the independence of the judiciary and not sending special police units to perform ordinary tasks in the northern part of Kosovo.

In an evaluation report, which comes six months after the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe approved the request for Kosovo's membership in this mechanism, the experts asked the Kosovo authorities to "abandon their opposition to the establishment of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority" and to negotiations for its formation begin.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has recently stated that he is ready to sign the draft statute for the establishment of the association, offered by Western envoys on October 21, as part of the agreement offered to Serbia and Kosovo to normalize relations between them. . The agreement provides for the recognition of documents, symbols and mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The agreement also requires the parties not to hinder each other in integration processes, but does not include the obligation of mutual recognition.

The experts' report, made public on Monday, is part of the analyzes that will be evaluated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe before Kosovo's request for membership is put to the vote. In order to become a member, Kosovo needs the support of two thirds of the 46 member countries of the Council of Europe.

Kosovo applied for membership in the Council of Europe in April 2022. Its membership in this mechanism is considered as part of the Brussels agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, reached in February and the one in Ohrid, in March of this year with the mediation of European Union.
The report identifies three main challenges in the justice system, in particular around the functioning of local courts, especially in the northern part of Kosovo due to increased tensions, disrespect for the independence of the judiciary and "the disturbing tendency to excessively use special police forces in the northern part of Kosovo." The experts ask the government of Kosovo to "fully respect the independence of the justice system" and "limit the undeserved criticism that is undermining trust" in it.

In the findings of the report, the experts, who were engaged by the Council of Europe assembly to evaluate the compatibility of Kosovo's legal framework with the standards of the Council of Europe, ask the authorities to implement "without delay the decision of the Constitutional Court in the case of the Monastery of Deçan", referring to the 2016 decision of this court that recognizes the Serbian Orthodox monastery's ownership of an area of ??24 hectares of land around it. The various governments of Kosovo have not implemented this decision and it has turned into a constant criticism of the international community towards Kosovo.

The Council of Europe is an international organization for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe, founded in 1949. Last year, after the Russian attack on Ukraine, this mechanism expelled Russia from its ranks.

The experts' report emphasizes the need to continue the fight against organized crime and corruption, carrying out reforms in the justice system, as well as improving the state of human rights for minority communities in Kosovo, including primary and secondary education for the Roma, Ashkali community. , Egyptian and children with disabilities, as well as the use of native languages.

Last week, the Council of Europe criticized the region for failing to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes, estimating that reconciliation between the new states that emerged from the destruction of Yugoslavia has not yet been achieved.

In the experts' report on Kosovo, they ask the authorities to adopt strategies to promote inter-ethnic dialogue and trust-building.
Kosovo submitted its application for membership in May 2022, shortly after Russia was expelled from this organization due to its aggression against Ukraine./ VOA

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