BBC: Kosovo let down by failing judiciary
The Kosovo Albanian judiciary is a failure, the BBC is reporting.
(BBC) Friday, July 24, 2009
"Witnesses come before the court, but very often they are reluctant to speak the truth, because they are threatened," says an Italian judge volunteering for the EU mission Eulex, Franceso Florit.
"And they have a loyalty to their clan which is stronger than what they feel towards society in general."
One of the Kosovo judges whom Florit is mentoring acknowledges this problem.
But Hamdi Ibrahimi makes it clear that witnesses are not the only ones who face intimidation.
"We judges are dealing with organised crime, war crimes, and cases of ethnic conflict," Ibrahimi says.
"In most of these cases, local judges cannot take part, because of the lack of security. It's a fact that we - judges and prosecutors - we are not safe here in Kosovo."
Intimidation of judges was just one of the problems highlighted by a Eulex report on the state of Kosovo's justice system that was published on Thursday.
It warned that there was also political influence on the appointment of judges, and that they were not held sufficiently accountable.
The report said a "daunting array of reforms" within Kosovo's judiciary were required, but added that prosecutors too were subject to intimidation and other forms of pressure.